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  This Covered Call Index Tends To Beat The Broader Market In Low Return And Negative Return Climates
Posted Under: Broader Stock Market
Supporting Image for Blog Post


View from the Observation Deck 

  1. From 2001-2015, the CBOE S&P 500 BuyWrite Index (an index designed to measure a covered call strategy) outperformed the S&P 500 Index in six of the 15 calendar years. It is has lagged year-to-date thru 9/13/15 (see chart).
  2. Over that 15 year period (2001-2015), the S&P 500 Index posted an average annual total return of 5.00%, compared to 3.93% for the CBOE S&P 500 BuyWrite Index, according to Bloomberg.
  3. While covered call options can generate an attractive level of current income, they also can cap the potential for capital appreciation.
  4. The use of a covered call portfolio tends to be most beneficial to investors when the stock market posts down years (2001, 2002 & 2008) and when returns range from 0% to 10% (2007, 2011 and 2015), though the BuyWrite Index did not outperform the S&P 500 Index in 2005.
  5. From 1926-2015, the S&P 500 posted an average annual total return of 10.02%, according to Ibbotson & Associates/Morningstar. That average sits above the upper end of the 0% to 10% range.
  6. Covered call writing tends to be less beneficial when stock market returns are well above their normal range, such as in 2012, 2013 and 2014 (see chart).
  7. As of 9/14/16, the S&P 500 Index stood 2.94% below its all-time high of 2,190.15 set on 8/15/16. At current levels, we believe that corporate earnings growth will have the greatest influence on the direction of stock prices.
  8. Bloomberg's 2016 consensus estimated earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 Index was 10.28% as of 9/14/16. That target is just above the 0% to 10% range.

This chart is for illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any actual investment. The illustration excludes the effects of taxes and brokerage commissions or other expenses incurred when investing. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. The S&P 500 is a capitalization-weighted index comprised of 500 stocks used to measure large-cap U.S. stock market performance. The CBOE S&P 500 BuyWrite Index (BXM) is designed to track a hypothetical buy-write strategy on the S&P 500. It is a passive total return index based on (1) buying an S&P 500 stock index portfolio, and (2) "writing" (or selling) the near-term S&P 500 Index (SPXSM) "covered" call option.

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Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2016 @ 1:36 PM • Post Link Share: 
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These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
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