# T Short Put 45 DTE Leveraged Options Backtest

In this post we’ll take a look at the backtest results of opening one T short put 45 DTE leveraged position each trading day from January 3 2007 through August 29 2019 and see if there are any discernible trends. We’ll also explore the profitable strategies to see if any outperform buy-and-hold T.

There are 10 backtests in this study evaluating over 29,800 T short put 45 DTE leveraged trades.

Let’s dive in!

Contents

## Prior Research

**Basics**

How to Trade Options Efficiently Mini-Series

**Backtesting Concepts**

Building a Research Framework

### AAPL – Apple Inc.

- AAPL Short Put 0 DTE Cash-Secured
- AAPL Short Put 45 DTE Cash-Secured
- AAPL Short Put 45 DTE Leveraged
- AAPL Long Day Trade

### AMZN – Amazon.com, Inc.

### BTC – Bitcoin

### C – Citigroup Inc.

### DIA – SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average

- DIA Short Put 7 DTE Cash-Secured (coming soon)
- DIA Short Put 7 DTE Leveraged (coming soon)
- DIA Short Put 45 DTE Cash-Secured (coming soon)
- DIA Short Put 45 DTE Leveraged (coming soon)

### DIS – Walt Disney Co

### EEM – MSCI Emerging Markets Index

### GE – General Electric Company

### GLD – SPDR Gold Trust

### IWM – Russel 2000 Index

- IWM Short Put 7 DTE Cash-Secured
- IWM Short Put 7 DTE Leveraged
- IWM Short Put 45 DTE Cash-Secured
- IWM Short Put 45 DTE Leveraged
- IWM Long Day Trade

### MU – Micron Technology, Inc.

### QQQ – Nasdaq 100 Index

- QQQ Short Put 7 DTE Cash-Secured
- QQQ Short Put 7 DTE Leveraged
- QQQ Short Put 45 DTE Cash-Secured
- QQQ Short Put 45 DTE Leveraged

### SLV – iShares Silver Trust

- SLV Short Put 45 DTE Cash-Secured
- SLV Short Put 45 DTE Leveraged (coming soon)

### SPY – S&P 500 Index

- SPY Long Put 45 DTE Optimal Hedging
- SPY Long Call 45 DTE
- SPY Long Call 730 DTE LEAPS
- SPY Short Put 0 DTE Cash-Secured
- SPY Short Put 0 DTE Leveraged
- SPY Short Put 0, 7, 45 DTE Leveraged Comparison
- SPY Short Put 2-3 DTE M,W,F “BigERN Strategy” (guest post)
- SPY Short Put 7 DTE Cash-Secured (coming soon)
- SPY Short Put 7 DTE Leveraged
- SPY Short Put 45 DTE Cash-Secured
- SPY Short Put 45 DTE Leveraged
- SPY Short Put 45 DTE Leveraged binned by IVR (coming soon)
- SPY Short Vertical Put Spread 0 DTE (coming soon)
- SPY Short Vertical Put Spread 45 DTE
- SPY Short Call 0 DTE Cash-Secured
- SPY Short Call 0 DTE Leveraged
- SPY Short Call 45 DTE Cash-Secured
- SPY Short Call 45 DTE Leveraged
- SPY Short Straddle 45 DTE
- SPY Short Strangle 45 DTE
- SPY Short Iron Condor 45 DTE
- SPY Wheel 45DTE
- Making Money in Your Sleep: A Look at Overnight Returns
- A Bad Case of the Fridays: A Look at Daily Market Returns

### T – AT&T Inc.

### TLT – Barclays 20+ Yr Treasury Bond

### TSLA – Tesla, Inc.

### USO – United States Oil Fund

### VXX – S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures

- VXX Short Call 45 DTE Cash-Secured
- VXX Short Call 45 DTE Leveraged
- VXX Short Vertical Call Spread 45 DTE

### VZ – Verizon Communications Inc.

### Other

## Methodology

### Core Strategy

- Symbol T
- Strategy Short Put
- Start Date 2007-01-03
- End Date 2019-08-29
- Positions opened 1
- Entry Days every trading day in which entry criteria is satisfied
- Timing 3:46pm ET
- Strike Selection
- 5 delta +/- 4.5 delta, closest to 5
- 10 delta +/- 5 delta, closest to 10
- 16 delta +/- 6 delta, closest to 16
- 30 delta +/- 8 delta, closest to 30
- 50 delta +/- 8 delta, closest to 50

- Trade Entry
- 5D short put
- 10D short put
- 16D short put
- 30D short put
- 50D short put

- Trade Exit
- 50% max profit or 21 DTE, whichever occurs first
- Hold till expiration

### Days Till Expiration

Some studies look at ultra-short-duration option strategies while others explore longer durations. The nuances and range for each approach are summarized below.

#### 0 DTE Strategies

Between 0 and 3, closest to 0.

The range is up to 3 days from expiration for two reasons: to allow opening positions on Friday that have a Monday expiration and to allow more opportunities for occurrences of strategies focused in the 10-40 delta range. As expiration nears, it becomes increasingly difficult to open positions in this range.

This visual from Options Playbook does a great job illustrating the concept. Notice how at 1 DTE delta jumps from .50 to .10 with a single dollar change in the underlying. Compare this to the 60 DTE scenario where the change in delta for a $1 change in underlying is much smaller. By allowing positions to be opened as far out as 3 DTE, delta sensitivity to $1 differences in strikes becomes muted.

#### 7 DTE Strategies

Between 3 and 11, closest to 7.

The range is 4 days either side of 7 to ensure a position can be opened each trading day while remaining true to the duration target. For example, opening a position Wednesday will have either a 2 DTE horizon (next Friday) or a 9-DTE horizon (the Friday after next). In this scenario the 9-DTE position would be selected.

#### 45 DTE Strategies

Between 28 and 62, closest to 45.

The range is 17 days either side of 45 to account for quadruple witching. As the end of each calendar quarter approaches, namely during the last 7-10 days of Mar, Jun, Sep and Dec, the expiration dates of option contracts widen significantly.

#### 730 DTE Strategies (LEAPS)

Between 550 and 910, closest to 730.

The range is 180 days either side of 730 to account for underlying that have LEAPS expirations in 6-month increments.

### Calculating Returns

Returns are calculated by recording the profit or loss as positions are closed, if any, each day.

### Margin Collateral

Portfolio capital is held in cash and earns daily interest at the prevailing **3-month treasury bill **rate each day throughout the backtest. The Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates at the US Department of The Treasury website lists the daily interest rates used in the backtest.

Days for which there are no interest rates available, such as weekends and bank holidays, utilize the last published interest rate. For example, Saturday January 6 2007 and Sunday January 7 2007 do not have interest rates published. The backtest utilizes the rates published on Friday January 5 2007 for both these days.

### Calculating Margin Utilization

A running total of the P/L is measured each day and tracks the portfolio performance. Meanwhile, a running total of the notional exposure is measured each trading day and tracks the daily margin utilization.

Margin utilization is estimated as 20% of notional. For example, if there is $100,000 of notional exposure the margin requirement would be $20,000.

### Determining Starting Capital

#### Short Option Strategies

Backtests are run using an arbitrary amount of starting capital to generate a *max margin utilization* value. Starting capital is then adjusted in $100 increments such that max margin utilization is between 99% and 100%.

To compare the option strategy against the benchmark, an equal starting capital is allocated to a hypothetical buy-and-hold total-return portfolio.

#### Long Option Strategies

Backtests are run using an arbitrary amount of starting capital to generate a *max drawdown* value. Starting capital is then adjusted in $100 increments such that max drawdown is between -99% and -100%

To compare the option strategy against the benchmark, an equal starting capital is allocated to a hypothetical buy-and-hold total-return portfolio.

### Monthly and Annual Returns

To identify the monthly and/or annual returns for an option strategy, the respective daily returns are summed.

### Graphing Underlying and Option Curves

The underlying position derives its monthly performance values from Portfolio Visualizer. Portfolio returns are calculated in a compound fashion using this monthly data.

Option strategies derive monthly performance values from the backtesting tool by summing the respective daily returns. Portfolio returns are calculated in a compound fashion using the monthly values.

### Margin

Margin requirements and margin calls are assumed to always be satisfied and never occur, respectively.

In practice the option strategy may experience varied performance, particularly during high-volatility periods, than what’s depicted. Margin requirements may prevent the portfolio from sustaining the number of concurrent open positions the strategy demands.

### Moneyness

Positions that become ITM during the life of the trade are assumed to never experience early assignment.

In practice early assignment may impact performance positively (assigned then position experiences greater losses) or negatively (assigned then position recovers).

### Commission

The following commission structure is used throughout the backtest:

- 1 USD, all in, per contract:
- to open
- to close early
- expired ITM

- 0 USD, all in, per contract expired OTM / worthless

While these costs are competitive at the time of writing, trade commissions were significantly more expensive in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

In practice strategy performance may be lower than what’s depicted due to elevated trading fees in the earlier years of the backtest.

### Slippage

Slippage is factored into all trade execution prices accordingly:

- Buy: Bid + (Ask – Bid) * slippage%
- Sell: Ask – (Ask – Bid) * slippage%

The following table outlines the slippage values used and example calculations:

- A slippage % of .50 = midpoint
- A slippage % of 1.00 = market maker’s price

### Inflation

All values depicted are in nominal dollars. In other words, values shown are not adjusted for inflation.

In practice this may influence calculations that are anchored to a particular value in time such as the last “peak” when calculating drawdown days.

### Calculating Strategy Statistics

Automated backtesters are generally great tools for generating trade logs but dismal tools to generate statistics. Therefore, I build all strategy performance statistics directly from the trade logs. Below is a breakdown on how I calculate each stat and the associated formula behind the calculation.

#### Starting Capital

This specifies the minimum portfolio size necessary to successfully execute the trading strategy from the beginning of the backtest.

#### Average Margin Utilization

Margin utilization ebbs and flows throughout the backtest. This averages the daily margin utilization values.

`AVERAGE(daily margin utilization)`

#### Max Margin Utilization

This is the highest recorded daily margin utilization value throughout the backtest. Starting capital is specified to ensure this value resides between 99-100%.

`MAX( daily margin utilization )`

#### Max Margin Utilization Date

This is the date in which the highest margin utilization occurs. The formula is an index-match statement to lookup and return the date value associated with the max margin utilization value.

`INDEX( all trade dates, MATCH( max daily margin utilization ) )`

#### Premium Capture

This is the percent of premium captured throughout the strategy.

`SUM( premium received ) - SUM( options bought back ) - SUM ( losses from immediately selling assigned shares )`

#### Win Rate

Trades that were closed at management targets (profit, DTE) as winners but became unprofitable due to commissions are still considered winning trades. This phenomenon is typically observed when managing 2.5D and 5D trades early.

`( count of trades with positive P/L before commissions > 0 ) / count of all trades`

#### Annual Volatility

The standard deviation of all the *monthly* returns are calculated then multiplied the by the square root of 12.

`STDEV.S( monthly return values ) * SQRT( 12 )`

#### Average Monthly Return

Identify the average monthly returns.

`AVERAGE( monthly return values )`

#### Best Monthly Return

Identify the largest value among the monthly returns.

`MAX( monthly return values )`

#### Worst Monthly Return

Identify the smallest value among the monthly returns.

`MIN( monthly return values )`

#### Max Drawdown

This measures the greatest peak-to-trough decline, described as a percentage of the portfolio’s end-of-day value (open positions / unrealized P/L is not factored into end-of-day P/L value).

`MIN( daily drawdown values )`

#### Drawdown Days

This measures, using nominal (non-inflation adjusted) dollars, the duration in days from the max drawdown trough to previous high.

If portfolio never returns to the high before the max drawdown, “No Recover” is displayed.

`ABS( Date of Max Drawdown - Date of Recovery ) `

#### Average Trade Duration

This measures the average number of days each position remains open, rounded to the nearest whole day.

`ROUND ( AVERAGE ( trade duration values ) , 0 )`

#### Compound Annual Growth Rate

This measures the compounded annual rate of return, sometimes referred to as the geometric return. The following formula is used:

#### Sharpe Ratio

Total P/L alone is not enough to determine whether a strategy outperforms. To get the complete picture, volatility must be taken into account. By dividing the compound annual growth rate by the volatility we identify the risk-adjusted return, known as the Sharpe ratio.

`strategy CAGR / strategy volatility`

#### Profit Spent on Commission

The following formula is used to calculate the percent of profits spent on commissions:

If a strategy is depicted as having percent greater than 100, this means the strategy is unprofitable due to commissions but would have been profitable if trades were commission free throughout the duration of the backtest.

If a strategy is depicted as “unprofitable” this means the strategy lost money even if trades were commission free throughout the duration of the backtest.

#### Total P/L

How much money is in the portfolio after the study? This stat answers that question and depicts it as a %

`( portfolio end value / portfolio start value ) - 1`

## Scope

This study seeks to measure the performance of opening option positions and will interpret the results from the lens of income generation relative to buy-and-hold.

The utility or effectiveness of options as a hedging tool or other use will not be discussed and is out of scope.

## Results

### Starting Capital

Early management allows a smaller starting portfolio value since the maxim number of concurrent positions is capped. Less capital is “turned over” faster than holding till expiration.

### Margin Utilization

Early management yielded a lower average margin utilization.

Hindsight bias was used in to maximize Reg-T margin utilization for each strategy. This allows for a “best case” scenario, baring the limitations of backtesting such as no margin calls, for the option strategy to outperform relative to the benchmark.

Also displayed is the date in which each strategy experienced maximum margin utilization.

### Premium Capture

The higher the delta, the lower the premium capture.

Early management yielded lower rates of premium capture than holding till expiration.

### Win Rate

Managing trades early lowered the win rate for all strategies.

Baring the 5D early management strategy which suffered from commission drag, the riskier the trade the lower the win rate.

### Annual Volatility

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### Monthly Returns

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### Max Drawdown

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### Drawdown Days

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### Average Trade Duration

Managing trades at 50% max profit or 21 DTE yielded trade durations less than half the duration of hold-till-expiration.

### Compound Annual Growth Rate

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### Sharpe Ratio

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### Profit Spent on Commission

33.1% – the blended average percent of profits spent on commission across all short put strategies.

There is not much premium available on a short put trade as T is intrinsically a low vol underlying. Couple this with a relatively low notional stock price and commissions eat away substantial profits.

### Total P/L

Higher delta strategies yielded more profit than lower delta strategies.

Holding till expiration yielded greater profits than managing early across all strategies.

### Overall

All option strategies were profitable.

## Discussion

What’s interesting to note here is that there the 10D, 16D, 30D and 50D hold till expiration strategies yield higher total P/L and higher Sharpe ratios relative to buy-and-hold T. In fact, **you’re better off using options on T to generate income than buying T outright and holding for the dividend.**

Meanwhile, early management proved to be a detractor in every performance metric for a few reasons:

- The underlying price was between ~$22-$41 over the last 12 years. Thus, premium collected was small in absolute terms and closing a trade early took a disproportionately large bite out of the profits.
- Because $1 or $0.50 differences in strike price can represent up to a 4.5% expected move in the underlying, opening a position daily often resulted in having up to 15 or more positions in the same strike/expiration for a given delta target.
- If a position is underwater or otherwise <50% max profit when it’s managed at the 21 DTE target (37% of the 16D strategy trades encountered this scenario), all 15+ positions are closed at what may be an actual (position ITM / negative P/L) or consequential (negative P/L after commission) loss.
- Compare this to SPY where $1 is less than a 1% expected move in 2007 and, consequently, positions with the same CUSIP rarely exceeds 3.

## Summary

Systematically opening 45 DTE leveraged short put positions on T was profitable no matter which strategy was selected.

The 10D, 16D, 30D and 50D hold-till-expiration 45 DTE leveraged short put strategies outperformed performed buy-and-hold T on both risk-adjusted and total returns.

The 5D @ hold-till-expiration had the greatest risk-adjusted return among the leveraged option strategies.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Thoughts? Feedback? Dedications? Shoutouts? Leave a message in the comments below!

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Pushpaw

January 3, 2020 @ 10:19 am

Thanks for posting – good to see how strategy performs with leverage.

It mentions that a subscription will easily pay for itself with a few trades. Curious to know what spintwig recommended approach to trading is?

Thanks

spintwig.com

January 4, 2020 @ 10:48 pm

You’re welcome!

I recommend using a data-driven approach :). For readers that trade options as their means to participate in the market, this research can help improve their portfolio metrics and ultimately bottom line.

Tomaz

January 3, 2020 @ 11:43 am

5 delta sharpe, wow, just wow. Sharpe above 1 is very good, sharpe above 2 is exceptional, sharpe over 3? Dont think many hedge funds can brag with it, specially over 12 years! A year or two, maybe. But a decade.. !

Great research man! I think you are doing a lot of us a favour by doing such great back tests and hope we will be able to give back some day! You are an inspiration!

spintwig.com

January 4, 2020 @ 11:00 pm

Yeah, I found several of the hold-till-expiration trades particularly interesting. For example, layering a 5D T strategy on a portfolio of BIL or SHV is seems like a plausible way to boost returns on idle cash (or the bond portion of one’s portfolio). Of course, I would want to diversify this slightly and perhaps mix in VZ positions, assuming they have similar performance characteristics.

Happy to hear you’re finding this research useful! It has definitely impacted my own trading (cut way back in favor of investing, actually). Hopefully it is having a positive impact for others as well.

Pushpaw

January 3, 2020 @ 1:59 pm

Why do you have manage at 50% or 21DTE? The 21DTE rule likely skews results negatively. Don’t think it accurately represents a 50% profit target when both rules used together.

spintwig.com

January 4, 2020 @ 11:12 pm

The 21 DTE management mechanic aims to avoid gamma risk. If the profit target isn’t hit, take it off and start with a fresh 45 DTE position. I don’t have any research dedicated specifically to gamma risk, but the effects can be seen in the SPY 45 DTE Short Straddle Cash-Secured backtest.

Consider the average daily P/L, worst monthly return and Sharpe ratio metrics. Various profit targets are defined then DTE management targets are walked down in 1 week increments from 28 DTE till hold-till expiration. Managing at 21 DTE was optimal across all applicable profit targets.

Pushpaw

January 6, 2020 @ 9:38 pm

My point is simply that it’s not an accurate representation of how 50% profit targets will perform compared with letting the position go to expiration. The 21 DTE rule will supersede the 50% profit target in many instances when the position could have won at 50% if it had been left to go longer. So the fact that the win rate on letting go to expiration exceeds 50%/21DTE does not accurately represent a 50% profit target rule, it more represents the 21DTE rule. My observation from backtesting is that 50% profit target generally increases win rate. It certainly won’t have lower win rate than letting go to expiration as that’s actually impossible. Should at least be the same win rate. Because 50% profit target usually closes earlier, more positions are opened and the return is often higher than letting go to expiration. Just my observation and of course not applicable in all instances.

spintwig.com

January 7, 2020 @ 8:14 pm

Ah, understood. Agree, using both exit criteria will yield a different result compared to using just one.

You’re spot on. In this particular study the 21 DTE early-management exit rule is largely responsible for the lower win rate and higher vol. This is primarily due to Vega risk (aka: sensitivity to IV changes), which this strategy is particularly exposed due to it being a low-vol underlying.

Consider an earnings event. IV tends to increase in anticipation of earnings and decrease afterward. This is the kind of risk that’s captured by time-based early management but avoided in holding till expiraiton (or adjusting the strategy around earnings events). If a position is put on such that the 21 DTE mark is a day or two before earnings, IV swells and the trade is managed early for a loss.

This phenomena happens in general but is less apparent when the underlying typically has substantial price swings (I’m looking at you, TSLA).

C-lab

July 9, 2020 @ 12:55 am

Hello, I’m loving all the info you have here but am a bit confused as to how much leverage is used. Is the backtest assuming you are using the same amount of margin BP as it would take to hold the stock?

spintwig.com

July 9, 2020 @ 2:38 am

Leverage is described in the “Margin Utilization” section. Specifically, “Max Margin Utilization.”

A short put will require ~20% of the notional amount as collateral. A portfolio that utilizes 20% of it’s margin (initial buying power) is considered cash-secured or 1x leverage. Each backtest in this study has a max margin utilization value of ~100% or 5x leverage. If max margin utilization was, say 60%, then the strategy would be described as having 3x leverage.

A few weeks ago I did a guest study (https://earlyretirementnow.com/2020/06/17/passive-income-through-option-writing-part-5/) that looked at a 5D SPY short put and compared different leverage amounts (1x through 5x). If you scroll down to the “Starting Capital” heading you’ll see the max margin targets of ~20, 40, 60, 80 and 100% corresponding with 1, 2, 3 ,4 and 5x leverage.

Average margin utilization is often less than the max value due to multiple positions closing on the same day (multiple positions with identical expiration dates or volatility/underlying move triggers early management). As new positions are opened daily the margin utilization works its way back to the target value.

Hope this helps!

C-lab

July 9, 2020 @ 7:44 pm

Thanks for getting back to me. This definitely clears things up. I actually read BigERNs post featuring you last week and it’s what lead me here!

spintwig.com

July 9, 2020 @ 9:51 pm

You’re welcome!

Ah, good to know. Feel free to fore away with any other questions you may have. I’m happy to answer.

I’m kicking around a few ideas to make the amount of leverage used easier to glean. This isn’t the first time this question has been asked.