Jim Bittman

Jim Bittman

Mr. Bittman is the author of two books, Options for the Stock Investor, (McGraw-Hill, 1996), and Trading Index Options (McGraw-Hill, 1998). He teaches courses for public and institutional investors, and he has presented several custom courses throughout the U.S., Europe, South America and Southeast Asia. In 1980 Mr. Bittman began his trading career as an equity options market maker at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. From 1983 to 1993, he was a Commodity Options Member of the Chicago Board of Trade where he traded options on financial futures and agricultural futures. Mr. Bittman received a BA, magna cum laude, from Amherst College in 1972 and an MBA from Harvard University in 1974. In addition to his responsibilities at The Options Institute, Mr. Bittman is also a member of the faculty of The Illinois Institute of Technology, where he teaches in the masters level Financial Markets and Trading Program.

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CBOE Options Institute Visits Shanghai Exchanges

In preparation for the commencement of options trading in China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Futures Exchange have been sending various groups of exchange staff, brokers and market makers to The Options Institute at CBOE for basic- to intermediate-level education on options strategies and options pricing. In the last 18 months, 10 classes [...]

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CBOE to Offer Four-Fecta at NY Traders EXPO on February 18

The Options Institute at CBOE is presenting a free half-day education series followed by an Options Showdown panel of veteran traders. First up is "A 2-Step Approach to Trading Credit Spreads." Jim Bittman will discuss using the current level of implied to trade credit spreads. When to enter a trade, the strike prices to choose [...]

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CBOE at Las Vegas Traders EXPO! by Marty Kearney & Jim Bittman

The CBOE will be well represented at the Las Vegas Traders EXPO starting tomorrow Wednesday Nov. 14 going through Saturday the 17th. Jim Bittman, and Dan Sheridan of Sheridan Options Mentoring will have a strategy session on trading butterfly spreads for income. This is one of three options education sessions comprising our Half-Day Options Education [...]

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We’re Coming to Las Vegas. Mark Your Calendar.

Attend CBOE’s “Half-Day Options Track” at the Las Vegas TradersEXPO – ABSOLUTELY FREE! Register now to attend the Las Vegas TradersEXPO from November 14 – 17, 2012 and with an extra click of your mouse you can get your ticket for our “Half-Day Options Education Track” – it’s a half day of options education that’s completely [...]

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Bruno Dupire, Bloomberg, Opens CBOE RMC Friday Program

Bruno Dupire, Head of Quantitative Research, Bloomberg, opened the third and final day of the first Annual CBOE Risk Management Conference (RMC) Europe with a talk titled “Quantitative Strategies for Trading Volatility.” The strategies discussed included “Frequency Strategies,” “Term Structure Strategies,” and “Historical Versus Implied Strategies.” “Frequency Strategies” are made possible, because historical volatility tends [...]

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Risk Management Conference Europe – Day One Wrap

Day One of Risk Management Conference (RMC) Europe is in the books – it was busy and very informative.  Here are recaps of the three sessions today: Session One: Options Fundamentals: Option Strategy and Pricing Jerry de Leeuw, Managing Director, Mercurious and Jim Bittman, CBOE Options Institute Jim said learning to use options involves several [...]

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The Options Institute Announces Course for Financial Advisors and Planners

As a Financial Advisor, have you wondered how options can help your clients and your practice? Take a look at your schedule for Monday and Tuesday September 24th and 25th. In this new course for advisors and financial planners, instructors at The Options Institute will discuss options-based investment strategies that target enhancing portfolio income, reducing [...]

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Option Fundamentals Encore

I opened RMC Europe with Jerry de Leeuw and am following up with further discussion of option fundamentals. For this presentation I am joined by Samuel Kadziela from Chicago Trading Company. This section focuses on grasping an understanding of the Greeks, managing option positions and synthetics. I will spend some time on synthetic positions and [...]

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RMC Opening Act

I’m honored to be part of the opening act this afternoon at the first annual RMC Europe conference. RMC has been held for years in the states and is such an informative and popular program that CBOE has decided to take the act on the road to Ireland. Things start mid-day today with Jerry de [...]

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The Options Institute Announces Course for Financial Advisors and Planners

As a Financial Advisor, have you wondered how options can help your clients and your practice? In this new course, instructors at The Options Institute will discuss options-based investment strategies that target enhancing portfolio income, reducing portfolio risk and managing concentrated stock positions. This 2-day course begins with a quick review of options basics and [...]

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Looking Forward to RMC Europe

I have been participating in the CBOE RMC held annually in Florida for the past 28 years. This year CBOE has added a second RMC event and is taking it across the pond to Europe. The first RMC Europe will be held in Dublin, Ireland from September 5th – 7th. I am excited and honored [...]

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CBOE and IBD Team Up for a Father’s Day Double Header

Hit a home run with your favorite Father this year.  The Options Institute at CBOE is hosting a doubleheader Investor Training Camp. Camp includes a pre-event for all registrants on June 13 @ Wrigley Field with a game ticket to see the Chicago Cubs vs. Detroit Tigers 7:05 game. Then, on June 14, registrants attend [...]

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We’re Coming to the the Dallas Traders Expo

Marty Kearney and I are coming to Dallas to repeat our SRO “Half-Day Options Track.” "Strategies for Weeklys Options," "Trading & Managing Iron Condors," and "Butterfly Spreads for Income." These are all intermediate to advanced topics. Register now to attend the Dallas TradersEXPO from June 6 – 8, 2012 and with an extra click of your mouse [...]

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VIX Settlement Batting 500

Last Wednesday moring was April VIX settlement. Although VIX options and futures stop trading on Tuesday afternoon, the final VIX settlement is calculated Wednesday morning using opening SPX option prices. Typically, the final VIX settlement on Wednesday morning is different than the VIX close the Tuesday afternoon before. At The Options Institute we went back to [...]

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Blogging from Risk Management Conference

Tobias Levkovich, Chief U.S. Strategist at Citigroup and Keynote Speaker at the 28th Annual Risk Management Conference, predicts the Dow Jones Industrial Average will surpass 14,000 in 2012. “The reasons are fundamental,” said Levkovich. “3 million jobs have been created since the bottom of the recession in 2009, consumer spending is up 20%, and there [...]

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Buzz Gregory Speaks at RMC – “Today’s Volatility Environment”,

Goldman Sachs equity derivatives analysts Krag “Buzz” Gregory speaking on “Today’s Volatility Environment” at the 28th Annual Risk Management Conference said that, following a volatility spike such as in 2008 and August-October, 2011, there are four stages of volatility stabilization.  “The first stage is when realized volatility trends lower as the economic outlook improves.  Second, the [...]

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P.J. O’Rourke Gives His Thoughts on U.S. Budget Situation

PJ O’Rourke, in his keynote address to the 28th Annual Risk Management Conference said, “There is no simple answer to the U.S. government’s budget problem, because every dollar in spending benefits someone. Simpson-Bowles was a good, honest attempt to ask everyone to make some sacrifice, and no politician – not one Republican and not one [...]

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LEAPS Seminar on LEAP Day!

Get LEAPS ahead of other traders. Dan Sheridan and I present an ALL-DAY LEAPS webinar tomorrow – LEAP Day! We discuss investing strategies, trading strategies and unique LEAPS strategies. Make it a LEAP Day to remember! Go to www.cboe.com/allday to register.

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“Santa Claus Rally” Period Starts Tomorrow

The seven trading days spanning the last five trading days of the old year plus the first two trading days of the new year is the time of the "Santa Claus Rally." Historically, this period has been up over 70% of the time (according to The Stock Trader’s Almanac). But beware, those negative 30% of times [...]

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Fibonacci Techniques Webinar TOMORROW

All-Day Webinar Tomorrow!! Tues. Dec. 13th Access this LIVE! all-day webinar to review concepts again and again for 60 days. How do you pinpoint highs and lows when trading the market? Fibonacci Queen, Carolyn Boroden, demonstrates how Fibonacci Trading can be used to identify high probability trade setups with defined risk and profit targets in a [...]

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New Advanced Options Trading Course at OI

Active traders take note: The Options Extreme sponsored by LiveVol, a 2-day course plus 8 75-minute webinars debuts October 13-14. Live online or live in person at The Options Institute at CBOE in Chicago. Topics: Trading and Managing Complex Spreads, Delta-Neutral Trading and Position Management, Trading Volatility Derivatives and Strategies for Weeklys and for Leveraged ETFs. Goals: [...]

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VIX ‘System’ Seems to Work

One of Ronald Reagan’s favorite sayings was doveryai, no proveryai which loosely translated to “Trust, but Verify”. Probably no one in the option business is more trustworthy than Larry McMillan and we trust all he says, but we wanted to verify something as well. According to our recollection Larry has consistently stated that when the [...]

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Ready for the “Worst Month”?

According to The Trader’s Market Almanac 2011 by Jeff and Yale Hirsch (Wiley & Sons, www.stocktradersalmac.com), September ranks 12th – the worst month of the year. The theory seems to be that portfolio managers returning from summer vacation decide to “clean house.” The Hirschs report that, out of the last 60 years, the DJIA was [...]

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To Trade or Not To Trade – That is the question!

600-point down days, 300-point daily ranges and many intra-day big reversals are not normal – at least not i the last 18 months. If, over the past year, you became accustomed to selling puts 5% below the current stock price, or if you sold iron condors with the short strike prices one standard deviation out-of-the-money, then you [...]

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An Interesting VIX Situation

Traders of advanced options spreads might take a look at VIX call butterfly spreads. As an example, VIX September futures are about 80 cents (0.80) over the VIX Index, about 20.55 versus about 19.75. What is interesting, however, is the mid-point of the VIX September 20-22.50-25 call butterfly spread. Take a guess: is this 2.50-point call [...]

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Trading the Debt Limit Resolution (or Debacle) Weekend

As President Obama and Congress approach the “Debt Limit Deadline,” there are a number of potential trading scenarios to consider, but there is one approach that won’t work. It’s possible that “everything will be okay” and the stock market will rise. It is also possible that “everything will be okay” and the stock market will [...]

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Sector ETF Study Points to Technology

A recent study of the nine Select SPDR ETFs indicates that “the sector ETF with the highest price performance for one calendar month has a 65% chance of being up during the next month and a 55% chance of doing better than the SPY.” The nine S&P sector ETFs are: XLB – Materials sector XLE – [...]

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Judging the State of the Market

Most everyone knows that SPY is an ETF consisting of 500 stocks and is designed to follow the performance of the S&P 500 Stock Index.  What many people do not know is that there are also 9 sector ETFs that consist of various numbers of stocks and are designed to follow one industry group within [...]

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The Bullish Case

Last week I pointed out a technical – and bearish – indicator that the number of stocks on the NYSE above their 200-day moving average dropped sharply. Other indicators based on “sentiment” are bullish.  Sentiment is defined by The Free Merriam-Webster dictionary as “an attitude, thought, or judgment prompted by feeling.” Indicators based on sentiment [...]

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Warning Sign?

With Monday’s 130-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the % of NYSE stocks above their 200-day moving average dropped from to 64% from 80% on April 29 and from readings consistently above 75% this month. Is this a warning sign of a pending market decline? The last time this happened – NYSE stocks [...]

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College Students Invade the CBOE

For the second year in a row the Options Institute at the Chicago Board Options Exchange is hosting college students from around the country for our Investing and Trading for College Students program. This year’s program runs from May 17th to May 20th and August 9th to August 12th. The curriculum includes visits to the [...]

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College Students Invade the Options Institute

For the second year in a row the Options Institute is hosting college students from around the country for a three and a half day program known as Investing and Trading for College Students. This year we are running the class from May 17th to May 20th and then again from August 9th to the 12th. [...]

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Scary Day….Or Not???

Last week the market had a pull back of around 140 points on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. This weak market day caused a little excitement for about 24 hours, but seems to have subsided. For perspective on the day, note the chart below which shows the S&P 500 price performance over the last two [...]

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Sell in May, Go Away – The Reality….

When I hear market ‘rules of thumb’ I want some verification.  I put my best man on testing the Sell in May ‘system’ and here’s what he found out.  It doesn’t work. The short version is if you had bought the market in the form of the S&P 500 index on the first day of [...]

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Alcoa’s Earnings and the Market

An update on a theme we continue to follow at the Options Institute. Does Alcoa’s stock price reaction to their earnings release give insight into the direction of the overall stock market? What is referred to as earnings season unofficially started with Alcoa (AA) reporting earnings last Monday April 11th. The stock price reaction to [...]

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PUDA Coal Teaches Option Traders a New Lesson

"Expect the unexpected" applies equally to trading options as well as to life in general. Trading in both Puda Coal, Inc. (PUDA) common stock and listed options was halted Monday. In addition – and here is lesson #1 – The Options Clearing Corporation removed these options "from automatic exercise thresholds in expirationn processing." This means that option owners who [...]

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Is VIX Telling Us Something?

The attached chart shows a change in behavior of VIX. Last fall VIX was falling (Line A) while SPX was rising (Line B). Since the March decline and subsequent rally, however, the lows in VIX (Line C) are sloping upward and diverge – so far – from the level of SPX (Line D). Could this [...]

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Must the SPY gap be filled?

The Friday high for SPY was 128.88, and Monday’s low was 129.20.  Today’s low was 129.17, and VIX is still above 20.00.  Some chartists believe these are short-term bearish indicators. Keep an eye on SPY if and when it trades at 128.88.

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Could VIX be a Key?

Could VIX be a key? Since its intra-day low of 14.86 on February 8, VIX has been on the rise to its current level over 24.00.  It has been up in 7 of the last 9 days while the S&P 500 Stock Index (SPX) has been down in 7 of the last 9 days (SPX [...]

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Two Thoughts for The Day

The spot VIX index has been toying with the 20 level recently.  This used to be considered a pretty high and bearish level for the fear and greed index. The VIX has an inverse correlation with the S&P 500 index and should climb when the overall stock market drops.  Some market watchers always keep an [...]

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Bittman Calls It

All eyes this week are on the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (that understated locale for family entertainment!). And I will be up early Saturday to read Eric Savitz’s Technology Week column in Barron’s to get the scoop. I will not, however, make a trade first thing Monday morning. Rather, I will watch the price [...]