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How to Hedge Your Portfolio If there is a Second Wave of Coronavirus

Want to know how to hedge your portfolio in case a second wave of coronavirus sends stocks spiraling again? Try put options.

Financial Activity Monitor

Worried about a second wave of coronavirus and what it might do to your portfolio? Don’t sell any stocks preemptively. There’s a better way to hedge it.

As the weather in North Carolina has turned from really good to amazing more and more people are emerging from their coronavirus isolation. And last weekend over “social distanced” drinks with a couple of my friends one successful businessman in my group said to me, “The economy is a mess, why shouldn’t I take all my money out of the stock market just in case there is a second wave of coronavirus?”

I get my friend’s concern. Thirty-eight million Americans are unemployed, the global supply chain is a mess, business and vacation travel aren’t coming back anytime soon, many restaurants will never come back, and neither I nor my dog can get a haircut!

And on top of that, two of the most successful investors of all time spoke quite negatively about the stock market last week. Here was what these legends said:

Stanley Druckenmiller: Risk/reward in stocks is the worst he’s seen.

David Tepper: This is the second-most overvalued stock market he’s ever seen, behind only 1999.


And with all those negatives lined up somehow the Nasdaq is within 3% of all-time highs! How is this even possible?!?!

Some Theories

My working theory about the resilience of the market is based on two factors:

  1. The Federal Reserve has essentially said, “we got this,” and will continue to flush the system with so much liquidity that the economy will be able to survive this economic tsunami.
  2. Traders and investors believe that the best of the best in science and technology will figure out testing and a vaccine sooner than expected.

That being said, I 100% would understand if my friend wanted to sell his stock holdings, raise cash and wait out the next couple of months just in case a second wave of coronavirus really sends our economy into a depression.

A Better Way to Fortify Your Portfolio Against a Second Wave of Coronavirus

However, as I told my friend, you don’t necessarily need to sell your stocks, as there is an options strategy that can hedge his portfolio against another deep market sell-off … and that strategy is buying put options.

Just last week I recommended to subscribers of my Cabot Options Trader and Cabot Options Trader Pro advisories that we buy our first market puts in months as my trading signals were beginning to flash warning signs. This recommendation was well timed, as the S&P 500 promptly fell 3% after my recommendation (sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good).

If you are unfamiliar with puts, here is a definition and graph of a generic put buy:

A put purchase is used when a decline in the price of the underlying asset is expected.

This strategy is the purchase of a put at a specific strike price with unlimited potential for profits. The maximum loss on this trade is the amount of premium paid.

For example, the purchase of the XYZ 100 put for $1 would only risk the $1 paid. If the stock were to close at $100 or above at expiration, the put would expire worthless.

If the stock were to go below $99, the holder of this put would make $100 per contract purchased per point below $99.

How to hedge against a second wave of coronavirus? Put options.

If you want to learn more about puts, and the hedge I recommended last week, join me at Cabot Options Trader, where we just reopened things to new subscribers after a long hiatus due to excess demand.

As for how this coronavirus situation will play out, and the impact it will have on the market, it’s truly anyone’s guess (especially in the short term). However, with put options my friend and all investors can continue to maintain their portfolios with the knowledge that they are hedged just in case the market gets hit by a second wave of market declines.


Jacob Mintz is a professional options trader and editor of Cabot Options Trader. Using his proprietary options scans, Jacob creates and manages positions in equities based on unusual option activity and risk/reward.