We all love to turn a profit, but when something is not going your way, that’s good to know too! No matter your analysis needs, reading the P/L figure on your desktop platform is useful, and hopefully, this short guide will make it easy too!
Overall P/L’s (profit and loss figures) per underlying can be found by navigating to the ‘History’ tab on the downloadable desktop platform. After you reach the History tab, click the ‘Year-to-date’ button located immediately below the ‘Trade’ tab. At this point, you should see your aggregate P/L per underlying along with total commissions and fees per underlying as well.
Additionally, if you just performed a closing trade and you do not see the overall effect (profit/loss) to your P/L numbers then click the refresh button located above the Orders window. The Orders window is located in the right sidebar menu. You can also learn more about refreshing your software here.
But, there are THREE P/L figures. What do all these mean? Let’s see if we can clear things up...
P/L Realized: This figure displays realized profit/loss. In other words, this is the resulting profit/loss from positions that have been CLOSED. This is a relatively static figure and should only change when positions are closed.
P/L Open: This figure displays the current profit/loss of any open positions in an underlying. This is a dynamic metric and is marked to mid-price.
P/L YTD: This figure, as its name indicates, displays profit/loss for the year-to-date. Its value is arrived at by way of the following simple formula: P/L Realized + P/L Open = P/L YTD. This figure essentially reflects what your overall portfolio P/L would be if you were to close out of everything in your portfolio (assuming all positions are closed at mid-price). Remember, P/L YTD is a gross figure and does not factor in commissions and fees.
Just to solidify things, let’s go through an example of how a specific trade might affect P/L in a portfolio. Stay with us; we’re almost done!
For the sake of this example, consider a 5-lot IWM Iron Condor. First, we need to head to the ‘History’ tab. For convenience, let’s sort our transactions by underlying and by date. Once your filter ranges get pretty narrow, you might get down to just one underlying. At this stage, you might notice something. Assuming that you do not have any open positions in your portfolio, the ‘Amount’ figure near the top right-hand corner of the tab will match the P/L YTD of the selected underlying (see screenshot above). If those numbers do not match, the chances are that you still have an OPEN position in your portfolio or you are not viewing the entire year. Any positions that are still OPEN in your portfolio will read as profit or loss in the amount of the credit received/debit paid for the opening trade (i.e., will reflect an initial, unrealized value). The ‘Amount’ figure is the sum of each selected transaction.
Now, let’s see how much credit we received from the Iron Condor we sold on March 27, 2017. To see how much total credit was received, click to select each transaction line that constitutes a leg of the strategy. You’ll see the ‘Amount’ number change as you select each transaction. The figure will reflect the addition of each new transaction in its sum total.
For this 5-lot Iron Condor, we collected a total of $600, but since this was a 5-lot, we have to divide that number by 5 to see how much we collected per Iron Condor. It looks like we collected $1.20 per Iron Condor for a total of $600 (5QTY x $1.20 x 100).