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Editor's note: Today, we're bringing you the final installment of master trader Jeff Clark's "how to" series on a unique options strategy he uses to trade his own money. If you missed any of the previous essays, you'll find them all listed in "Further Reading" at the bottom of today's issue.  
 
This strategy isn't for everyone. But we hope you take the time to at least understand this idea before you dismiss it. As you read below, it offers tremendous benefits even for folks who don't consider themselves "traders"...

How to Trade Options without Staring at a Computer All Day

By Jeff Clark
Friday, December 28, 2012

The strategy I've shown you this week is a great way to lower your risk and boost your potential returns.
 
Before you get started with it, though, you need to understand one more thing...  
 
This isn't "day trading." This doesn't require you to watch the market all day. You don't need to spend your life at your computer to make it work... 
 
This strategy can be used to reduce risk and increase profit potential on short-term trades, too... But it's best-suited for long-term, high-conviction ideas.
 
For example, maybe you're convinced gold will be trading much higher a year from now, but you're not as confident about what'll happen over the next month... Perhaps you think interest rates will rise over the next several months... Or maybe you believe semiconductor stocks are dirt-cheap at today's levels but you aren't sure when the market will recognize it.
 
These types of ideas are excellent candidates for this strategy...  
 
You see, longer-term ideas allow traders a chance to set up what I call "Rip Van Winkle trades." These are trades you can put together and go take a nap.  
 
You don't have to worry about the market's day-to-day movements. You've set up a trade that gives you a wide margin for error. And because it's based on a long-term idea, you don't have to watch it every second... or every day... or even every week for fear of missing a big move.
 
Over the past several years, I've recommended nearly a dozen of these setups to my readers. In addition to the Seabridge trade and the Silver Wheaton trade, my readers have netted 25% in five months on Rowan Companies. And folks who followed my advice booked 83% gains in 10 months on Salesforce.
 
You can make these kinds of gains, too.
 
Assuming you're already approved to buy and sell calls and puts, you'll simply need to contact your broker and get approval for "spread" trading. In most cases, you'll just need to update your option account form and submit it to your broker for approval.  
 
Some brokerages require a minimum amount of option trading experience (usually three years or more) and a minimum account size (around $25,000).
 
Once you have your account approved for spread trading, you'll be able to make these trades. And the best part is, it's easy to enter these trades with your broker. You simply enter one ticket to buy the calls, enter another to sell the calls... and to create the third leg of the trade, enter a ticket to sell the puts.
 
The broker I use to trade (Interactive Brokers) groups these trades together as a single position. Most trading platforms don't consider these trades a single position, but will still list the trades together (like Fidelity and OptionsXpress, for instance).
 
People come up to me all the time and tell me they'd love to trade and do what I do all day, but they can't... They tell me they have a job... or kids... or they're simply too busy. They can't spend the whole day staring at the computer screen and being prepared to trade on a moment's notice.
 
That's one of the biggest benefits of this strategy. You can make these trades without worrying about constantly monitoring the position. Don't get me wrong: You can spend time staring at the computer screen if you want to... But you don't have to.
 
This strategy offers lower-risk, higher-reward setups... without taking up all your free time.  
 
Sure, it's not as simple a strategy as you're likely used to... and it takes a little more time and effort to understand how the trades work. But once you get the hang of it, it's easy to see why this is how I trade with my own money.
 
Best regards and good trading, 
 
Jeff Clark




Market Notes
Brick-and-mortar gadget retailers suffer... Best Buy, RadioShack, and hhgregg are down 40%-plus in 2012, while shares of online retailer Amazon are up more than 45%.
 
Biotech has a strong year... big fund IBB is up more than 30% in 2012.
 
Natural gas prices rebound to finish the year in positive territory.
 
Oil prices continue to struggle... down around 10% this year.   
Best of the Crux: 2012
Health alerts 
 
Thursday, January 19, 2012 
What the latest research reveals...
 
Wednesday, February 08, 2012 
"Increases the risk of heart disease by 43% and can cause liver damage similar to that seen in alcoholics..." 
 
Friday, March 09, 2012 
This is the simplest way to reduce your exposure...
 
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 
Cases are expected to triple by 2050… 
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