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How To Make Money With Correlations

|Includes:Garmin Ltd. (GRMN), TRMB

Have you ever wished that you could undo a loss that you just took in the market? Of course. Everyone wishes they could do that. Here's an example of using correlations to possibly accomplish the idea of "un-doing" a loss - or simply just to make money.

Assume that you own shares of Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) and you wake up to see that the stock is down 10% due to their earnings report. Well, actually, it wasn't just the earnings report, but the CEO basically saying that the industry is still in a secular decline. This happened February 20th of this year.

If I see one company taking a hit because of industry-wide problems, then I look at other companies in the same sector. Garmin makes GPS devices, and some pretty cool ones at that. But have you used Google Maps yet? It's just as cool; and it's free. I can see why the GPS industry might be having troubles. And if GRMN is taking a hit, what other stock(s) might also feel the heat?

Yahoo Finance lists Trimble Navigation (NASDAQ:TRMB) as one of GRMN's competitors. Simply being in the same industry might be enough for me to consider a bearish trade for TRMB, but what else can I consider? Correlation.

Depending on the time frame used, a correlation calculator indicates that the correlation between these two companies is around 0.80. So one can broadly state that if GRMN is down, there's an 80% chance that TRMB will also move lower by a similar percentage amount. Basically, this is how correlations are used. Of course there are no guarantees, but it might add some confidence to your decision to place a bearish trade on TRMB.

On the 20th, when GRMN opens lower by 10%, TRMB opens a little lower. This is when I issued a Trade Alert to buy the April 60 puts for $1.65. Four days later this trade doubled in value to $3.30 as the stock dropped by 7%.

Use the bearish trade on TRMB to possibly offset your losses on GRMN; or simply use it to profit. Knowing your stocks (and their industry competitors) certainly helps in your trading and potentially can provide other opportunities for hedging or outright speculation.

In this instance, bad news for one company led to profits on another company based in part on their correlation. This actually provides the basis for an entire topic in our Online Group Coaching Second Semester classes. For more information on these classes feel free to contact us at support@optionsbuzz.com.

Trade safe!

Greg Loehr

Disclaimer: Loehr Consulting, LLC ("Company"), doing business as Options Buzz, is not an investment advisory service, nor a registered investment advisor or broker-dealer and does not purport to tell or suggest which securities customers should buy or sell for themselves. Before placing any trade you should consult with a licensed broker or registered investment advisor as well as read The Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options. Please visit www.OptionsBuzz.com for the complete disclaimer and terms of use.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Stocks: GRMN, TRMB