A simple trading strategy has historically made investors an average of 21% in just 6 days. Here's how Goldman Sachs says you can replicate it.

  • A trading strategy of buying call options shortly before Analyst Day events — then selling them shortly after — has averaged a 21% return over the past 18 years, according to derivatives strategists at Goldman Sachs.
  • The strategy is already up 28% this year — and Goldman has a list of 20 stocks traders can use to exploit it in the next few weeks. 
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As the fourth-quarter earnings season draws to a close, Goldman Sachs is advising traders to turn their attention to Analyst Days.

If you were planning to tune out from these events, consider that they also generate the kind of news that can significantly move single stocks.

These events do not occur with the same periodicity as earnings releases — and that’s precisely why Goldman’s derivatives strategists see an opening to exploit them. 

On one hand, the irregularity of Analyst Days makes it tough to develop systematic trading strategies for them. But this feature means the options used to bet on outsized moves end up being relatively cheap heading into Analyst Day.

The strategy requires some forward planning. In order to profit, an investor needs to buy call options that bet on higher prices five days before a company’s event and then sell the day after.

On average, this strategy has returned 21% above the options premium paid over the past 18 years, said John Marshall, a derivative strategist at Goldman Sachs, in a recent note.

So far this year, 24 Analyst Days have yielded a gain of 28%. The average stock has increased by 150 basis points through its company’s event — more than double the historical average of 70 basis points, Marshall added. 

Goldman Sachs

Now is an especially good time to exploit this trade, Marshall said. That’s because the implied volatility on the S&P 500 is running below trend relative to the past year. What’s more, options prices on several individual stocks have cheapened as a result. 

The table below shows 20 stocks with cheap options and Analyst Day events taking place through March 13:

Goldman Sachs

Finally, Marshall singled out the following two stocks below as ripe opportunities to profit from their upcoming events: 

1. Buy Hasbro calls ahead of the 2020 Toy Fair: The toy maker’s option prices have fallen since its earnings release even though there’s the potential for volatility at the Feb. 21 analyst meeting. Management is likely to provide 2020 guidance for for the first time. 

Goldman Sachs’ has a “buy” rating on the shares with a 12-month price target that implies 24% upside. 

2. Buy Zendesk calls ahead of its Relate Conference: The focus on Zendesk’s CRM platform called Sunshine will likely be a positive driver of its stock price. Option prices are near the lowest level in a year.

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