It might not surprise many that I am impressed by my own profundity in that discussion ;). *Some* other arguments on the merits of one over the other leave me underwhelmed however, most particularly when those arguments are chockers full of non-sequiturs, half truths and plain old BS. These of course are all over the place in Option Land, but I'll pick on a recent article published by an option book vendor.
In the article, the author recognised the synthetic equivalency of covered calls and naked puts (rare), but argues the superiority of CCs based on a load of old cobblers, to wit:
Here are the reasons I prefer covered call writing to naked put selling:
1- Many brokerages want the assurance to know that you have the ability to purchase the shares you are obligated to buy when selling the put. Therefore, they will require you to have an adequate amount of cash in your account to cover such an event. You will then have sold a cash-secured put and set aside the same amount of cash as the CC seller.
I don't see this as a disadvantage at all if the goal is conservative premium collection. As the author acknowledges, capital usage is the same. Therefore, there is no valid reason on this point to prefer covered calls.
2- The seller of a covered call captures all dividends distributed by the underlying corporation, the put seller does not. We’re not talking about a huge windfall here, but the cash is better in our pockets than someone else’s.
Just plain incorrect. Option pricing takes into account any pending dividend and option pricing cum-dividend and ex-dividend account for them. If you have a covered call position, the call premium will be cheaper to the tune of the dividend amount. You get the dividend via the stock, but you lose it via less call premium. I have an article on the effects of dividends for further information.
3- Selling covered calls allows the investor more flexibility. The most profit a naked put seller can generate is the premium on the option sale. A covered call writer can profit from the option premium PLUS additional share appreciation if an out-of-the-money strike is sold. That choice is available to the covered call writer but not to the naked put seller.
There is still no difference in payoff. If an OTM call is written, the *corresponding* ITM naked put can also be written, again with the same payoff diagram as the OTM covered call. Synthetic equivalence is maintained no matter what the strike price.
4- Early assignment is not an issue for CC writers because the option premium is not affected and possible additional upside appreciation is incorporated into your profits if an O-T-M strike was sold. For naked put sellers, early assignment could be a disaster. Imagine a stock gapping down, and the stock “put” to us at the $30 strike. The stock is plummeting and heading for the teens! The put seller wants to sell the stock before it loses more ground but perhaps the shares haven’t even hit his account yet. He may have to wait until the next day to sell the shares. One way of getting around this issue is to sell the shares short (selling before actually owning them). The problem with this solution is that average... investors will have a difficult time getting “shorting privileges” from their brokerage firm and may lack the sophistication necessary to manage such situations. Besides, who needs the headaches?
There are a couple of points here:
a) It's true that the naked put might be assigned early if there is zero extrinsic value, however the short put will have a delta of +1, or very close to it, and will be trading like the stock anyway. This will put the trader in a position of a substantial open loss for sure, but the author neglects to inform the reader that the covered call will be in the identical position of a large open loss. Once again, the positions will be the same.
b) The suggested response of shorting stock is incorrect for the stated goal of exiting the position, as you don't know if and/or when you will be assigned. You may just be flipping your deltas and have an open synthetic short call. That's not what the author intended. There is no law that says you have to hold the put till expiry or assignment. The best response if you want to exit the trade before possibly being assigned is just buy back the written put.
5- Those interested in option investing in tax sheltered accounts, will have an easier time establishing such accounts using covered call writing than any other form of options trading.
This isn't my field, but I am led to believe that cash covered naked puts are permissable in such tax sheltered accounts.
If people really want to trade covered calls over naked puts, fine, there may be valid reasons as I stated in my earlier article. No skin off my nose, but let's not justify it with misinformation and bullshit.