Investors in iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (EEM) saw new options become available this week, for the March 2015 expiration. One of the key data points that goes into the price an option buyer is willing to pay, is the time value, so with 388 days until expiration the newly available contracts represent a potential opportunity for sellers of puts or calls to achieve a higher premium than would be available for the contracts with a closer expiration. At Stock Options Channel, our YieldBoost formula has looked up and down the EEM options chain for the new March 2015 contracts and identified one put and one call contract of particular interest.
The put contract at the $37.50 strike price has a current bid of $3.00. If an investor was to sell-to-open that put contract, they are committing to purchase the stock at $37.50, but will also collect the premium, putting the cost basis of the shares at $34.50 (before broker commissions). To an investor already interested in purchasing shares of EEM, that could represent an attractive alternative to paying $39.19/share today.
Because the $37.50 strike represents an approximate 4% discount to the current trading price of the stock (in other words it is out-of-the-money by that percentage), there is also the possibility that the put contract would expire worthless. The current analytical data (including greeks and implied greeks) suggest the current odds of that happening are 60%. Stock Options Channel will track those odds over time to see how they change, publishing a chart of those numbers on our website under the contract detail page for this contract. Should the contract expire worthless, the premium would represent a 8.00% return on the cash commitment, or 7.53% annualized — at Stock Options Channel we call this the YieldBoost.
Below is a chart showing the trailing twelve month trading history for iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund, and highlighting in green where the $37.50 strike is located relative to that history: