HomeMost PopularEarnings Strategy: Leveraging WMT Volatility with a Pre-Earnings Put Option Sale

Earnings Strategy: Leveraging WMT Volatility with a Pre-Earnings Put Option Sale

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Selling put options before a company’s earnings announcement can be a valid strategy for options traders seeking to capitalize on volatility.Β 

One of the primary reasons traders may consider selling a Walmart (WMT) put option before the company’s earnings announcement is the elevated implied volatility. Earnings reports can trigger significant price movements, and this volatility results in an increase in option premiums. By selling the put option before the announcement, traders aim to capitalize on the inflated premium, especially if they believe that the stock will remain above the strike price by the option’s expiration date.

Before delving into the strategy, let’s quickly recap what it means to sell a put option. A cash-secured put involves writing an at-the-money or out-of-the-money put option and simultaneously setting aside enough cash to buy the stock. The goal is to either have the put expire worthless and keep the premium or be assigned and acquire the stock below the current price.

Selling put options is an easy place for investors to start with options. They are like a covered call and are pretty easy to understand once you know the basics.

Traders selling puts should understand that they may be assigned 100 shares at the strike price.

Potential Benefits

Selling put options allows traders to collect premium income upfront. If the options expire worthless, the seller keeps the entire premium as profit.

The premium received can lower the breakeven point for the trade. If the stock price drops but remains above the breakeven point, the seller still profits.

Traders who are bullish or neutral on WMT can benefit from the increased volatility leading up to the earnings report.

After the earnings announcement, implied volatility tends to drop significantly, reducing option premiums. By selling options before the announcement, traders can take advantage of this implied volatility drop.

Potential Risks

If the stock price falls below the put option’s strike price, the seller may be obligated to buy WMT shares at a higher price than the current market value.

While the profit potential is limited to the premium received, losses can theoretically be unlimited if the stock price drops significantly.

An earnings surprises could result in a sharp drop in the price of WMT stock.

Selling an WMT Put Option

A trader selling the May 17, $60-strike put on WMT would receive around $120 into their account, which would be theirs to keep.Β 

If WMT falls below $60 by next Friday, they would be required to buy 100 shares at $60. The effective net cost of the position would be $58.80, thanks to the option premium received.

That is 2.15% below yesterday’s closing price.

If the stock stays above $60 at expiry, the put expires worthless, leaving the trader with a 2.04% return on capital at risk.

That works out to be 82.77% annualized.

Company Details

Walmart Inc. helps people around the world save money and live better by providing the opportunity to shop in both retail stores and through eCommerce, and to access its other service offerings.Β 

Through innovation, it strives to continuously improve a customer-centric experience that seamlessly integrates its eCommerce and retail stores in an omni-channel offering that saves time for customers.Β 

By leading on price, it earns the trust of customers every day by providing a broad assortment of quality merchandise and services at everyday low prices (EDLP).Β 

EDLP is the company’s pricing philosophy under which it prices items at a low price every day.Β 

Everyday low cost (EDLC) is the company’s commitment to control expenses so its cost savings can be passed along to customers.Β 

It has 3 reportable segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam’s Club. It maintains principal offices in Bentonville, Arkansas.


Selling an WMT put option before their earnings announcement is a strategy that can potentially generate income while taking advantage of heightened volatility. However, it’s essential to understand the risks involved, including the possibility of assignment and unlimited losses.Β 

Please remember that options are risky, and investors can lose 100% of their investment.Β 

This article is for education purposes only and not a trade recommendation. Remember to always do your own due diligence and consult your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

On the date of publication, Gavin McMaster did not have (either directly or indirectly) positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article. All information and data in this article is solely for informational purposes. For more information please view the Barchart Disclosure Policy here.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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