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David Pinsen
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I founded Launching Innovation, LLC, to bring together developers, designers, and academic finance experts to create easy-to-use tools to solve complex problems for investors.
My company:
Portfolio Armor
My blog:
Steam Catapult
  • Are We Headed For A 40% Market Crash?  0 comments
    Oct 24, 2013 1:05 AM | about stocks: SPY, GLD

    Another Pundit Predicts A Crash

    On CNBC on Wednesday, Mark Spitznagel of Universa Investments predicted that we're headed for a 40% market crash. Of course, Spitznagel isn't the first pundit to predict a crash during the roaring cyclical bull market since March, 2009; one of these predictions is bound to be right eventually. But there's an opportunity cost to having a constant bunker mentality: if you put most of your money in cash, you'll miss out on any further upside; if you pour money into an inverse ETF, you'll rack up losses while you wait. Here is a way to hedge against a significant market correction which won't put a lot of drag on your returns if that correction doesn't happen over the next several months.

    Hedging With Optimal Puts

    0.60% cost, uncapped upside.

    These were the optimal puts*, as of Wednesday's close, to hedge 1011 shares of the S&P 500 index tracking ETF (NYSEARCA:SPY) against a greater-than-20% drop over the next several months.

    As you can see at the bottom of the screen capture below, the cost of this protection, as a percentage of position value, was 0.60%. Note that, to be conservative, the cost was calculated using the ask price of the optimal puts. In practice, an investor can often buy puts for less (i.e., some price between the bid and the ask).

    With this hedge, you'll limit your downside if a major correction occurs over the next several months. And if the market keeps roaring higher, assuming you're otherwise fully invested, so will your portfolio minus the 0.6% or less you allocated to this hedge.

    Possibly More Protection Than Promised

    In some cases, hedges such as the one above can provide more protection than promised. For an example of that, see this post about hedging shares of the SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSEARCA:GLD).

    *Optimal puts are the ones that will give you the level of protection you want at the lowest possible cost. Portfolio Armor uses an algorithm developed by a finance PhD to sort through and analyze the available puts for your stocks and ETFs, scanning for the optimal ones.

    Stocks: SPY, GLD
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