3:15PM
 
Microsoft (MSFT, $32.00, up $0.55) is up ahead of earnings today.  I wanted to stress the importance on what keeping a position open means going into earnings.  The stock is up about 5% for the week and everybody is expecting Microsoft to report a strong quarter.  If you bought calls such as the July 30 calls (MSQGF, $2.90, up $0.25) they have gained about 50% for the week. 
 
If you will notice, the July calls have about 2 1/2 months before they expire.  The point is, even though you may have placed the trade as a “long-term” option trade, it is dangerous to hold onto these type of positions when an earnings announcement comes out.  If you are up a pretty significant amount BEFORE earnings come out, don’t get it stuck in your head that you can squeeze more out of the trade.
 
It’s better to be safe than sorry and realizing a 50% gain within a week should make it that much easier to close the trade.  Sure, Microsoft could come out with blowout earnings but even if they do Wall Street is always looking ahead.  If the company says anything that could hurt future earnings the stock could retreat.  And yeah, if the stock goes up after their earnings report comes up Aces then so be it.
 
I’d rather take a 50% profit instead of going into earnings and then having a 50/50 chance of either making another 50% OR losing my entire investment.  Look at it this way, there are always other trades.  For the past 18 months, Microsoft has bounced between $27 and $32-$33.  That’s pretty tight, sideways action for quite some time.  Having said that, it wouldn’t surprise me if Microsoft follows this exact same pattern. 
 
Rick Rouse
Rick@OptionsMentoring.com