GOOG volatility is too cheap into earnings

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GOOG is about to declare earnings and this is the cheapest I have seen the ATM options in as long as I can remember into a cycle.  The key to GOOG is how it trades through the earnings.  Most of the time the move in a direction will keep going allowing the  ATM the day before earnings to go deep in the  money.

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On the close the GOOG May 01 Weekly 505/530/555 Iron Butterfly spread priced 17.50.  That means this Iron Butterfly (selling the wings and buying the straddle) would have gone deep in the money the last 3 cycles if priced for $17.50.  With GOOG anything can happen and the loss on a drop in IV per spread is only $17 per point.

The lesson

While earnings premium seems expensive, because it is a big number, that does not mean it is.  When the protected straddles are too cheap, they are not worth selling.

The trade

The short iron butterfly (long straddle and short the tails) has limited vega risk.  If the ATM looks too cheap, these trades could be an alternative to own gamma for low cost.  Make sure there is enough time for a direction to develop.

 

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