The U.S. market is not overvalued and there are still enticing sectors for investors even though the major U.S. indexes have recently powered to new highs week after week.
"The economy's great," Tom White, director and chief strategist of TradeWise Advisors, a subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) , said at TheStreet's recent Financial Success Strategies event. "Look at the unemployment rate; look at the global economy on scale. Everybody's doing pretty well right now. There's no outlying catalyst that's telling you that a recession is upcoming at this point."
White noted that some television pundits have been saying that the "market is topping out," but said that the underlying fundamental reason the market is up -- besides some the deregulation efforts and potential tax reform implications -- is that there have been three solid quarters of growth for corporations.
White, along with fellow panelists Skip Raschke and Mark Sebastian, options columnists for Real Money Pro, a sister publication of TheStreet, identified areas in which investors could use options trading to generate additional upside returns while also limiting downside risk.
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Options are contracts that grant the right but not the obligation to buy or sell an asset at a set price on or before a certain date. A call option is the right to buy an asset; a put option is the right to sell an asset.
Specifically, White likes the idea of buying and selling options in the banking sector.
"I'm defining my risks and I'm lowering my cost by doing the spread, but I'm taking a bullish stance in a really, really low volatility environment that we have here with the VIX [around] 10," he said. (The VIX is the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, which gauges the market's volatility. The VIX increases when put option buying rises and falls when call buying activist is more robust.)
"I like to use spreads because I don't want to pay $1.50 for a put option when I can spend 80 cents on a vertical that can limit my cost basis," said White. "This is another helpful thing to remember when you start trading options. It's a less capital-intensive way to get into these type of products."
Options can provide investors with the ability to play potentially neutral strategies; they could be unclear as to which way the asset will move, either up or down, but acknowledge that there could be a big move, noted Victor Jones, moderator of the panel and director of trading and operations at TD Ameritrade.
"They're up 40% this year already; it's about an $18 stock," White said. "I like the cybersecurity space and think it's an industry that will continue to be grow."
"[Jack in the Box] was Chipotle (CMG) before Chipotle was Chipotle," said Sebastian, adding that he loves Qdoba, which is owned by Jack in the Box. " I think that [Qdobda] is going to end up driving Jack in the Box."
"The key to that is knowing when to cut the losses," said Raschke. "Everybody knows how to let a winner run especially when you use options, you've got a winner running to the upside, you buy a put, you sell a call above the put strike that you bought it, you collar it and you've got your game."
Click here to check out more of what Jim Cramer, CNBC's Jon Najarian, TD Ameritrade's JJ Kinahan and others had to say at TheStreet's Financial Success Strategies symposium.
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