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How Hertz Longs Can Limit Further Hurt

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Shares of Hertz Global Holdings (NYSE: HTZ) plumetted 16.1% on Thursday, after the company lowered its full-year guidance, citing weak demand from business customers. Despite the drop, it was still possible for Hertz longs to add downside protection to limit any further losses. In fact, as of Thursday’s close, Hertz shareholders could have gotten paid to open the hedge below.

Hedging With An Optimal Collar

Below is the optimal collar*, as of Thursday’s close, to hedge 1000 shares of HTZ against a >16% drop between today and March 21st, for an investor willing to cap his potential upside at 15% over the same time frame. Before we look at it, let me anticipate a question:

Why Would I Want To Cap My Upside Now?

Well, you might not. In which case, you could pay to hedge now, or just take your chances and hope the stock doesn’t suffer another big correction over the next several months. On the other hand, you might be willing to cap your upside here in return for getting paid to add downside protection over the next several months. In that case, here is that optimal hedge:

As you can see at the bottom of the screen capture below, the net cost of this optimal collar was negative, meaning you would have gotten paid to hedge in this case.

Note that, to be conservative, Portfolio Armor calculated the cost of this hedge by using the bid price of the call leg and the ask price of the put leg. In practice, you can often sell calls for more (at some price between the bid and ask) and buy puts for less (again, at some price between the bid and ask), so, in actuality, an investor opening the optimal collar above would likely have netted more than $100 to do so.

Possibly More Protection Than Promised

In some cases, hedges such as the ones above can provide more protection than promised. For a recent example of that, see this post about hedging shares of BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY).

*Optimal collars are the ones that will give you the level of protection you want at the lowest net cost, while not limiting your potential upside by more than you specify. Portfolio Armor's algorithm to scan for optimal collars was developed in conjunction with a post-doctoral fellow in the financial engineering department at Princeton University. The screen captures above come from the Portfolio Armor iOS app.

The following article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

Posted-In: Options Markets Trading Ideas


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