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Wednesday, June 7, 2023



Wednesday Watch List Update – Stocks We Like for 2018

Related imageIt's very important to have a Watch List.

I like to have about 24 stocks I keep a close eye on so that, when something happens and they go on sale, I'm ready, willing and able to pull the trigger in an instant.  We did that in November, when Macy's (M) announced their earnings and we thought they were just what we wanted yet the market sold them off after the opening pop.  That gave us a window to act and, because we follow M closely – we KNEW it was time to act and I issued a Top Trade Alert, identifying it as our top contender for Stock of the Year for 2018 (replacing LB, another retailer who has already flown higher).  

We issued our 2017 Watch List back in March and in May we picked 13 out of 24 for action, including M as well as BMY, ESRX (still cheap), FCX, GE (cheaper), GILD, LB, PSA (still cheap), QCOM, TGT, GCI, FMCC and SEE (still cheap).  So, out of 13 picks we had been watching and pulled the trigger on, 10 are winners, 2 are flat and one (GE) is down.

This is the key to understanding our system.  GE was our only non-winner out of 13 picks (the flat ones make money too using our "Be the House – NOT the Gambler" system) and is still very manageable but, since they cut the dividend, we're not jumping back in yet – other than short puts.  

Image result for real investingIn order to become a real investor, you have to break out of your "winning" and "losing" mind-set and that's very difficult because your broker – who wants you to TRADE, not INVEST, gives you a daily scorecard with minute-by-minute updates to encourage you to thing of your portfolio as something that should constantly be fiddled with to improve your "score".  They even highlight your losers in red – so they bother you and further encourage you to dump slumping stocks by raising the margin requirements on them – making them even harder to hold onto.  

Imagine if you ran a baseball team that way – constantly cutting players who were having a bad month and hiring players who just had a good month.  Would you have a winning team or a team in constant turmoil?  Babe Ruth batted .290 and hit just 25 home runs in 1925 and people said it was over for him – the next year he batted .372 and hit 47 home runs, the year before setting the 154-game record of 60 home runs in 1927 with a .356 batting average.  Should he have been cut?  There were plenty of "better" players in 1925 who were far cheaper

That's not how we do things when we are trying to build a team and your portfolio is like a team you are building – one which should stand the test of time and that's not watch time or even calendar time but DECADES of your life kind of time!  You want a team that will carry you through retirement – one you can count on for DECADES to come – not one you are going to dump and replace every 6 months.  

I'm not saying there are not dogs.  If the company changes in such a way that they are no longer a good investment, then of course cut them but the history of the market shows that is not that often the case – especially with solid blue-chip stocks over long periods of time, where the Dollar Cost-Averaging gurus reign supreme.  

Image result for ge cash flow 2017GE has made a lot of changes and has sold off divisions, raising $78Bn worth of cash but that's also lowered revenues and profits and, because they have maintained an $8.8Bn annual dividend payment, cash flow was -$9Bn in 2016 (not including debt repayments ($58Bn) and stock buybacks ($21Bn).  It will take GE a while to move back to being cash-positive and management has cut the dividend to 0.48 (2.7%) so cash flow will improve.  

We don't really care whether GE goes up or down, as long as they don't go bankrupt but, since we're really in them for the dividend, we don't need to actually OWN the stock since we can simply sell the 2020 $18 puts for $2.40, which is 5 years worth of dividends!  That makes our worst case re-entry owning the stock at net $15.60, a 13% discount to the current price

In our $500,000 Long-Term Portfolio, we have $50,000 allocation blocks so we can own 3,200 shares of GE at $15.60 but we don't want to fill the whole block in one shot.  If GE drops to $9, we'd be screwed and down $20,000(ish) but, if we sell 15 short $18 puts for $2.40 we collect $3,600 against just $2,618 in margin and all GE has to do is stay over $18 two years from now and we make 100% of that money.  

On the other hand, if GE drops to $9, we would be assigned 1,500 shares at net $15.60 ($23,400) and we'd turn around and sell the $10 calls for about $1.50 and the $10 puts for $1.50 and that would drop our net to $12.60 and down just $5,400 or 10% of an allocation block or 1% of our portfolio.  So the risk is VERY manageable and we're pretty sure we'd be very happy to double down on GE at $9 and, even if we did that, we still wouldn't fill a whole allocation block.  

In our $500,000 Long-Term Portfolio, we look for short put opportunities like that every month that pay us $4-5,000 so that we're collecting 10% a year simply for promising to buy cheap stocks if they get even cheaper!

Without further adieu, here's a list of stocks I like for this strategy going forward BUT – keep in mind I'm expecting a broad-market correction and I don't think between now and Feb is a good time to add things so very small, conservative entries if you must but this is for a WATCH LIST and the trade ideas are not for immediate action but so we have a benchmark to know when there are bargains down the road.  

The origninal date of our calls (if any) are in brackets after the stock symbol but the options we're discussing reflect the currrent positions.  If I bold something in blue – it means I like that trade idea right now.  Also, for more color commentary on our older picks – go back to the original Watch List links.  For allocation purposes – I'm talking about what I'd put in our $1M+ Long-Term Portfolio with $2M+ in buying power as an initial allocation (and we're always willing to DD from there).  If you have a $100,000 portfolio, you might want to divide by 10 to determine the appropriate amount!

AAPL (1/3/18) – It pains me when we don't own AAPL but, at $172.26, I'd rather wait for a pullback.  AAPL was our Stock of the Year in 2012, 2013 and 2014 but, in 2015, they opened at about $130 and we thought that was high and we waited all the way until August, when they poked down to $100 (20%+ correction) to buy them again.  So, from $175, we're looking for an entry at around $140 and we could sell 2020 $140 puts for $9 but they'll be closer to $20 if we get a correction so I'd rather be patient on this one.  

ABX (1/3/18) – We HAVE to get them before they get away.  Short story on ABX is they have 100M ounces of gold in the ground (proven reserves) and, at $1,300 an ounce, that's $130Bn but you can buy the company, at $15.20, for $18Bn.  There is, of course, the cost of extraction but, for ABX, that's generally around $900 so $400 is profit ($40Bn) but, more importantly, if gold goes up $100 – that's ALL profit for ABX so it's a highly levered way to invest in gold and, worst case, you end up owning a best-in-class mining operation.  

In the LTP:

  • Sell 20 2020 $15 puts for $2.25 ($4,500) 
  • Buy 40 2020 $13 calls for $3.90 ($15,600) 
  • Sell 40 2020 $20 calls for $1.50 ($6,000) 

That's net $5,100 on the $28,000 spread so the upside potential, at $20, is $22,900 (449%) and the margin is just $3,026 so this is a fantastic play for the OOP.  In the LTP, the margin isn't even an issue as we'd really, Really, REALLY love to own 2,000 shares of ABX for $35,100 two years from now and we'd be happy to double down if it's lower.  

In the OOP:

  • Sell 10 2020 $15 puts for $2.25 ($2,250) 
  • Buy 20 2020 $13 calls for $3.90 ($7,800) 
  • Sell 20 2020 $20 calls for $1.50 ($3,000) 

That's net $2,550 on the $14,000 spread with an upside potential, at $20, of $11,450 (449%) and the margin is just $1,513.  What a fantastic way to make $11,450!  That's one trade, using $1,513 in margin that returns 11.5% of the portfolio in two years if all goes well.  This is why we are disappointed with 20% annual returns…  

ALK (1/7/18) – My favorite airline and a great operator who just took over Virgin US.  Too cheap to ignore at $73.74 and even cheaper if we sell 5 2020 $60 puts for $6.20 ($3,100) in the LTP, so we get paid to watch them for a better entry on a bull call spread.

BBBY (1/7/18) – One of my picks for a retail survivor and they are making $2.50 per $21.34 share, so lots of room to grow.  This one is approprate for both of our bullish portfolios:

In the LTP:

  • Sell 20 BBBY 2020 $17.50 puts for $2.80 ($5,600) 
  • Buy 30 BBBY 2020 $17.50 calls for $6.60 ($19,800)
  • Sell 30 BBBY 2020 $25 calls for $3.50 ($10,500) 

That puts us in the $22,500 spread for net $3,700 so $18,800 (508%) upside potential at $25 and the risk is owning 2,000 shares at $17.50 + 1.85 cash per share we put in ($19.35) is a 10% discount to where we are now as the worst case. 

In the OOP:

  • Sell 5 BBBY 2020 $17.50 puts for $2.80 ($1,400) 
  • Buy 10 BBBY 2020 $17.50 calls for $6,60 ($6,600) 
  • Sell 10 BBBY 2020 $25 calls for $3.50 ($3,500)

In this case we have a $7,500 spread and we're paying $1,700 to be in it.  Our assignment risk is just 500 shares at $17.50 ($8,750) plus the $1,700 we laid out is $10,450 or $20.90 per share, not much of a discount if we end up owning them but, on the other hand, not much risk to our allocations either so it's more or less a free play.

BX (1/7/18) – BX has been very good to us but I want to get into them again AFTER a correction since they are kind of a proxy for the market.  Since they pay a fat, 5% dividend, I don't mind owning them at $33 so, in the LTP, let's sell 10 of the 2020 $30 puts for $4 ($4,000) to pocket a bit of cash while we keep tabs on BX. 


CAKE (1/7/18) – Making about $2.50 per share makes CAKE reasonable at $50.21 and, in the LTP, we had sold 10 April $40 puts for $2.75 and THAT would be a great price (net $37.25).  Currently, we can promise to buy the stock in July for $45 and collect $2.05 for the July $45 puts, which would net us in for $42.95, not as good as last year but still a nice price so let's sell 5 of them in the LTP to remind us to keep an eye on them (and pocket $2,025).

CBI (1/7/18) – The most believable promise Trump made was to push infrastructure as it's something that badly needs doing in the US but, so far, no luck.  CBI had a rough year in 2017 but should be back on track in 2018 to make at least $1 per $18 share and possibly closer to $2, which would make them a huge bargain.  Huge option premiums make this fun for both our long portfolios:

In the LTP:

  • Sell 20 CBI 2020 $20 puts for $5.50 ($11,000) 
  • Buy 30 CBI 2020 $15 calls for $5 ($15,000) 
  • Sell 30 CBI 2020 $25 calls for $1.75 ($5,250) 

This is an aggressive spread where we're selling puts at a higher strike than the stock currently is at.  Our worst-case is owning 2,000 @ $20 = $40,000 and they were just at $10 in Aug so this is a risky play but it pays $30,000 at $25 against a net $1,250 credit so $31,250 upside potential is a risk we can afford in the LTP.

For the OOP:

  • Sell 10 CBI 2020 $15 puts for $2.80 ($2,800) 
  • Buy 10 CBI 2020 $15 calls for $5 ($5,000) 
  • Sell 10 CBI 2020 $25 calls for $1.75 ($1,750) 

Here we're laying out $1,450 but our assignment risk is owning just 1,000 shares at net $16.45 ($16,450) and, since we feel CBI COULD go back to $10, our mental risk is about $8K trying to make $10K at $25.



CDE (1/3/18) – Another miner that gets no respect despite completing a nice turn-around and hitting record production numbers.  At $7.97 we certainly don't mind being assigned at $7 and we can sell the 2020 $7 puts for $1.45, which makes it pretty much free money we can buy a spread with.  In the OOP, which has $20,000 allocation blocks, we have no fear of owning 1,500 shares for $10,500 – especially since the 2020 $7 calls can be sold for $2.70, which would then drop our net to $4.30.  So, our trades are:

For the LTP:

  • Sell 30 CDE 2020 $7 puts for $1.45 ($4,350)  
  • Buy 50 CDE 2019 $7 calls for $2.00 ($10,000)
  • Sell 50 CDE 2019 $10 calls for 0.85 ($4,250) 

That's net $1,400 on the $15,000 spread that pays off in just 12 months (though we'd still have the short puts) for a $13,600 (971%) upside potential at $10.  Margin on the puts is just $1,975 so it's a super-efficient trade. 

For the OOP:

  • Sell 10 CDE 2020 $7 puts for $1.45 ($1,450)  
  • Buy 20 CDE 2019 $7 calls for $2.00 ($4,000)
  • Sell 20 CDE 2019 $10 calls for 0.85 ($1,700) 

That's net $850 on the $6,000 spread with an upside potential of $5,150 (605) and less than $500 of our margin used.  

CHK (1/3/18) – Very unloved but I love natural gas as a long-term play and CHK is crazy cheap at $4.10 considering they will be making about 0.80 per share for a p/e of 5.  It's a good energy fit for both portfolios – especially with the huge option premiums we can sell.

In the LTP:

  • Sell 50 CHK 2020 $4 puts for $1.20 ($6,000) 
  • Buy 50 CHK 2020 $3 calls for $2 ($10,000) 
  • Sell 50 CHK 2019 $5 calls for 0.70 ($3,500) 

That's net $500 on the $10,000 spread and we have a year to roll the short calls, so hopefully we can widen it to $15,000 (at $6) if things go well.  The upside potential is $9,500 (1,900%) and the margin is just $1,919 so it's a great place to park a little cash.

In the OOP:

  • Sell 25 CHK 2020 $4 puts for $1.20 ($3,000) 
  • Buy 25 CHK 2020 $3 calls for $2 ($5,000) 
  • Sell 25 CHK 2019 $5 calls for 0.70 ($1,750) 

That's net $250 on the $5,000 spread with the same year to roll and about $960 in margin to make up to $4,750 (1,900%) without rolling.  Keep in mind $4,750 is 5% of the portfolio and we'll have about 20 trades like this!  


CIM (11/12/17) – Is an old favorite that's cheap enough again at $17.87.  It's a REIT that pays a $2 dividend, which is 11.2% at this price – so you know we like that. What we don't like is very crappy options, which is why we don't often play them but a Powell Fed should keep rates low and the cash flowing for CIM so I'd go for 1,000 shares at $17,870 and sell 10 of the June $17 calls for $1.10 ($1,100) and 10 of the June $17 puts for 0.85 ($850) to net in for $15,920 which is an 11% discount in 6 months, so pretty good and the $1,000 dividend makes it 16.5% off in 6 months and any stock that pays us back 33% of our outlay each year is certainly worth owning, right?  

CLF (1/7/18) – I still like this US iron ore producer in an age of tarrifs and trade wars.  In the LTP, let's sell 20 of the 2020 $10 puts for $3.70 ($7,400) to remind us to keep an eye on them.  It's aggressive with the stock at $8.13 but the entry is net $6.30, which is 22.5% off the current price and only $12,600 if assigned and you can sell the 2020 $7 calls for $3, which would drop our net to $3.30 and just $6,600 – what's not to like?

ETE (11/12/17) – Energy Transfer Equity is another way to play Natural Gas – through the transport pipelines.  All that shale drilling has to be transported and ETE is a leader in that space.  It has had some erratic swings, however so, rather than buy the stock for $17.47 and hedge to collect the $1.18 annual dividend, I'd rather just sell the 2020 $15 puts for $2.60 so we collect 2 year's dividends (in advance) and worst case is netting into the stock for $12.40 and THEN we sell puts and calls to lower the basis.

F (11/12/17) – Still reasonably priced at $12.01 and paying a nice, reliable 0.60 dividend (5%) already makes them attractive but also nice option premiums.  2020s aren't out yet and I'd wait but, for example, you can buy 2,000 shares of the stock for $24,020 and sell 20 of the 2019 $12 calls for $1 ($2,000) and 20 of the $12 puts for $1.35 ($2,700) to net in for $19,320 ($9.66/shar) and then you get $1,200 in dividends too!  We added F to the LTP and OOP on 1/2/18)

FNSR (1/3/18) – This is a great way to play growth in telecom/internet without owning one of those dreadful phone companies that go nowhere.  FNSR hasn't gone anywhere in 2017, despite earning $250M against a $2.5Bn market cap at $21.20.  This one is good for the OOP and LTP:

In the LTP:

  • Sell 20 FNSR 2020 $17 puts for $3.20 ($6,400) 
  • Buy 30 FNSR 2020 $15 calls for $9 ($27,000)
  • Sell 30 FNSR 2020 $25 calls for $5 ($15,000) 

That's net $5,600 on the $30,000 spread with $24,400 (435%) upside potential at $25 or better.  Margin requirement on this stock is $3,271 so a great way to make $24,400.  

In the OOP

  • Sell 10 FNSR 2020 $17 puts for $3.20 ($3,200) 
  • Buy 10 FNSR 2020 $15 calls for $9 ($9,000)
  • Sell 10 FNSR 2020 $25 calls for $5 ($5,000) 

In this case we're netting in for just $800 in cash and that gives us $9,200 (1,150%) upside potential at $25 and our margin will be $1,639 so a very good use of cash and margin to make a nice return.  


FTR (1/3/18) – We love them as a turnaround story but no one else seems to.  Their heavy debt load scares people away but we like them and who doesn't love a 35% (no kidding) dividend of $2.40 on a $7.27 stock?  We assume they will cut it in half but that's still huge and maybe 1/4 but still a nice 8.5% dividend if they do that so why would we not want to have some cash in this stock – especially when we can discount it further with options?

We already added this on 1/2 as such:

  • Buy 2,500 shares of FTR for $7.16 ($17,900) 
  • Sell 25 2020 $8 calls for $1.25 ($3,125) 
  • Sell 25 2020 $8 puts for $4 ($10,000) 

Here we're spending just $4,775 in cash for a stock that will pay us $6,000 a year in dividends if they don't cut it.  Getting called away at $8 is $20,000 so another $15,225 (318%) in upside potential if they don't go lower but really, on this play, we'd rather they go lower so we can DD at a lower price than "just" make $21,225 at $8+ in 2020 as this is using barely any of our allocation.

For the OOP, I want to do the same trade but with 1,500 shares and 15 short puts and calls.

As a new trade today, I also like this set-up (either one but not both, of course)

  • Buy 5,000 shares of FTR for $7.27 ($36,350) 
  • Sell 50 2020 $8 calls for $1.25 ($6,250) 
  • Sell 50 2002 $5 puts for $2 ($10,000) 

We're spending just net $20,100 so just over $4/share net, which makes the $2.40 dividend 60% of our cash outlay!  If they keep the dividend, we'll be collecting $3,000 per quarter while we wait to see if we get called away at $8 for a 100% gain ($20,100) 2 years from now.  If FTR goes lower, we'll end up with 10,000 shares at about $4.50 but then we'll sell more calls for $1+ and drop our net to $3.50, which is half of the current price and still comfortably within an allocation block.  


GCI (5/9/17) – Despite being up 25% since our entry in May, I still like Gannett and their 0.64 dividend (6.29%).  We pulled off a net $6.60 entry in May   Indications are that GCI should make just under $1 this year and next so the p/e is about $10 so we can buy 2,000 shares of the stock for $10.18 ($20,360) and sell 20 of the April $10 calls for 0.90 ($1,800) and 20 of the April $10 puts for $1 ($2,000) for net $16,560 ($8.28), which is not bad considering the Aprils are less than 6 months out.  We can expect 2 dividends of 0.16 ($640) so, in 6 months, we're down to $15,920 and we just have to hope people are still reading newspapers by then.

GE (1/7/18) – People are really out of love with this one but I can't NOT buy GE for $18.54 – it just seems silly.  The dividend has been cut to 0.48 so we don't need to own the stock for now.  

In the LTP:

  • Sell 20 GE 2020 $18 puts at $2.20 ($4,400) 
  • Buy 40 GE 2020 $15 calls for $5 ($20,000)
  • Sell 40 GE 2020 $20 calls for $2.35 ($9,400)

Here we're in for net $6,200 on the $20,000 spread with $13,800 (222%) upside potential if GE is up less than 10% in two years – so not a very ambitious way to play but it should be an easy $13,800 – and that's nice to have.

In the OOP:

  • Sell 10 GE 2020 $20 puts for $3.30 ($3,300)
  • Buy 20 GE 2020 $18 calls for $3.30 ($6,600) 
  • Sell 20 GE 2020 $25 calls for $1 ($2,000) 

Here we're netting $1,300 on a much more aggressive $14,000 spread with an upside potential of $12,700 (976%).  Why the more agressive spread?  Because, if we did 1/2 the more conservative LTP spread, we'd net $6,900, which is nice but we're using an allocation spot in the OOP, where we only have 10, whether it's assigned at $18 or $20 – it's the same while, in the LTP, the assgingment of $36,000 worth of GE is inconsequential as we have NO realistic expectation that it will drop more than 50% – so our worst-case scenario is not very worrying.  In the OOP, we won't have the luxury of riding things out for years while waiting for comebacks, so each allocation block needs to be working hard for us.   Should GE go lower, we'd put money into rolling the $18 calls to the $15 calls ($1.25 or less) and, at some point, we'll sell some calls for income. 






GILD (2/17/17) – Though it's much higher than our initial entry, GILD pays a reasonable $2.08 dividend per $73.77 share and we loved them at $65 and you can sell the 2020 $65 puts for $8.10, which nets you in at $56.90, effectively raising the dividend to 3.6% but it's 7.1% if you get called away without ever actually buying the stock – nothing wrong with that!  

GNC (1/7/18) – GNC is restructuring and has a lot of debt to deal with and MIGHT go bankrupt, so it's too risky for the OOP but, in the LTP, we can sell 20 of the 2020 $5 puts for $3.10 and collect $6,200 to keep our eye on the stock at $3.57 when your net is $1.90 – so let's do that.  Our worst case is owning 2,000 shares at net $1.90 ($3,800).

GPRO (1/7/18) – They are back where we liked them last year for similar reasons (job cuts) but the company has a habit of re-evaluating and pairing back projects that aren't working.  In this case it's their drone division.  While the market is taking it harshly, I was never happy that they weren't concentrating on the high-end camera market, where the big money is.  With the stock back at $5.95, we can sell 20 2020 $8 puts for $3.75 ($7,500) in the LTP and 10 in the OOP for $3,750 and our worst case is netting in for $4.25/share.  


Image result for robot accountantHRB (2/17/17) – Replacing their workers with Watson in the next few years, so a good long-term play.  Simplification of tax code may make them a good choice for more people (bad for accountants) and they are still cheap at $5.25Bn ($25.08) though that's up 25% from when we came in.  We're just lucky they pulled back from $30 so 1,000 shares at $25,080, selling 10 2020 $23 calls for $5.25 ($5,250) and 10 of the 2020 $23 puts at $4.20 ($4,200) is net $15,630 ($15.63) and that's already 38% off and another $1,920 in dividends over 2 years is net $13,710, which is 45% of our money back in 25 months – how can you not love a stock like this?  

IMAX (1/2/18) – I can't believe they are still $23.20 after the success of Star Wars.  Coming up this year is Maze Runner, Black Panther, Tomb Raider, Pacific Rim, Ready Player One, Avengers, Han Solo, Deadpool, Incredibles, Jurrasic World, Ant Man, Mission Impossible, Alpha, Venom, XMen, Fantastic Beasts, Spider Man, Aquaman and others in between – seems like the makings of a good year to me!  We will drop IMAX in the LTP and OOP at these prices as follows:

In the LTP:

  • Sell 10 June $23 puts for $2.10 ($2,100)
  • Buy 15 June $21 calls for $3.70 ($5,550)
  • Sell 15 June $26 calls for $1.30 ($1,950) 

That's net $1,500 on the $7,500 spread so the upside potential, at $26, is $6,000 (400%) in 6 months.

In the OOP:

  • Sell 5 June $23 puts for $2.10 ($1,050)
  • Buy 10 June $21 calls for $3.70 ($3,700)
  • Sell 10 June $26 calls for $1.30 ($1,300) 

That's net $1,350 on the $5,000 spread so the upside potential, at $26, is $3,650 (270%).  The OOP is a $100,000 portfolio so we don't want to risk too large of an assignment (especially as this is an aggressive put sale) and we're putting up more proportional cash on the spread – as that requires no margin.  


LB (2/17/17) – $50 was where we first liked them and they got cheaper and I made them my Stock of the Year pick at $35 but, since we don't officially make a pick until mid-November, they have sadly gotten away from us (like IBM did last year).  I would have skipped them but they pay a $2.40 dividend and I can't ignore that.  We can take advantage of the fat 2020 premiums buy buying 1,000 shares at $49.66 ($49,660) and selling 10 of the 2020 $45 calls for $11.50 ($11,500) and 10 of the 2020 $35 puts for $5.20 ($5,200) to net in for $32,960 which makes the $2,400 annual dividend a 7.2% return while you wait.  You can also sell 5 (1/2) Jan $53 calls for $1.90 ($950) and 10 sales like that plus $4,800 in dividedns over 2 years will drop your net by $14,300 to $18,660 – what's not to like.  It's easy to see how, by 2022, you can recover 100% of your cash outlay on this one!  

M (2/17/17) – As I said in Feb "We like M for a recovery story and, if not, as a real estate story.  They have 900 big-box stores and a $9Bn market cap so $10M per store is not a lot to pay and, at $9Bn, it's a good size to be acquired by a foreign company looking to have a presence in the US.  Meanwhile, they made $1Bn last year and maybe $900M this year so not like SHLD, who are losing $1.5Bn a year AFTER selling off land and brands yet still, for some reason, hold a $1Bn valuation."  I was 33% too early with that call but NOW they are my top contender for Stock of the Year for 2018.  M pays a whopping $1.51 dividend against a $19.98 price so I'd go 2,000 shares at $39,960 and sell 20 of the 2020 $22 calls for $3.50 ($7,000) and 20 of the 2020 $15 puts for $2.50 ($5,000) to net in for $27,960 ($13.98/share).  $6,400 of dividends are coming (11.4%/yr) and that would drop the net to $21,560 or $10.78/share so, even if assigned 2,000 more at $15, your average on 4,000 would be $12.89 ($51,560), which is 35% below the current price.  That's your worst case!  While I think it's too early to sell short-term calls, Jan $22 calls are 0.80 and even the Jan $25 calls are 0.30 so I would sell 10 (1/2) Jan $25 calls for 0.50 ($500) if it pops as 10 sales like that return another $5,000 to you without too much worry the stock will pop 25% in 2 months (though I am slightly concerned they get bought out at this price ($6Bn), possibly for $9Bn so $30 would mean you have to give $5,000 back to a short $25 caller but you'd make $16,000 on your longs at $22+.  

NLY (11/12/17) – Is the same management team as CIM, so my other favorite REIT – maybe more so as NLY has 2020 options to sell.  Here we can buy 3,000 shares at $11.24 ($33,700) and sell 30 of the 2020 $10 calls for $1.40 ($4,200) and 20 of the $10 puts for $1.40 ($2,800) for net $26,700 ($8.90/share) and we'll collect $6,000 in dividends TWICE by Jan 2020 to drop our net to $20,700 which is $13,000 (38.5%) back in 2 years and, keep in mind, we'll get those 38% returns – FOREVER – long after all the outlay is back in our pockets.  THAT is how you build a retirement portfolio!  

PSA (3/5/17) – Back in March I said "I generally don't like $226.61 stocks but this one pays an $8 dividend and is a good value at $220, so I am interested.  $200 should be a very solid floor so not much risk in selling Sept $210 puts for $9 because your worst case is owning them at net $201 and, if they head higher – $9 by Sept is far ahead of the dividend anyway.  I like this space as they are a REIT but no single tenant can break them and more people renting apartments means more need for extra storage space (plus retirees who can't let go of their stuff when they downsize)."  Well, nothing has changed and the stock is now $211 so, having collected $9 for doing nothing, now we can collect $9.50 more selling the June $200 puts and we many never end up owning the stock – but 10 years from now we will have collected enough to buy it!  

SKT (11/12/17) – Is not a REIT but they own malls and Retail might be dying but the need for good space where people congregate doesn't die so easily.  Also, though they may lose a JCP, big box stores tend to have very cheap deals with more than their share of parking and they are replaced by tenants who pay much more per square foot.  SKT runs very nice malls and tends to use them as event spaces for their towns to attact more shoppers – a strategy I really like.  They are a bargain at $24.27 but, sadly, options only go to June so far.  You can buy 1,000 shares for $24,270 and sell 10 June $25 calls for $2.50 ($2,500) and 10 June $25 puts for $3.70 ($3,700) and net in for $18,070, which makes the $1.37 dividend 7.5% while we wait for longer options to sell.  

SPWR (1/3/18) – This is a very easy way to invest in energy's future.  Sunpower is in an investment cycle and will be rolling out their INefficient energy panels this year.  SPWR makes the most efficient panels (23%) on the market but they are expensive and commercial power plants tend to favor less-efficient, cheaper panels – as they usually have plenty of land to deploy them on.  SunPower's new P19 panels have just 19% efficiency but are made to be price-compteitive with 17% Chinese solar panels.  At $8.97, it's certainly worth grabbing some now – especially with these great option prices:

In the LTP and the OOP:

  • Sell 20 2020 $7 puts for $2.50 ($5,000) 
  • Buy 30 2020 $7 calls for $3.70 ($11,100) 
  • Sell 30 2020 $12 calls for $2.05 ($6,150) 

This spread works out to a net $50 credit and uses just $1,440 in margin on the $15,000 spread so the upside potential is $15,050 (30,100%) and, like the solar panels, a wildly efficient trade!  We'll do the same amount in the OOP because the downside is just owning 2,000 shares at $7 ($14,000), which we're comfortable with as that's better than a 20% discount to the current price as our worst-case against the upside of gaining 15% on the entire portfolio with a single trade!




TGT (2/17/17) – Hasn't gotten away yet and you've got to love a $2.48 dividend (4.18%).   Earnings are certainly holding up at $4+/share and guidance has been in-line going forward but no exciting growth.  At $61.40 I have no objections to buying the stock so let's say 500 shares for $30,700 and sell 5 of the 2020 $60 calls for $8.50 ($4,250) and 5 of the 2020 $55 puts for $7.25 ($3,625) and that's net $22,825 ($45.65/share).  That brings the dividend up to 5.4% and 2 years of those will be $2,480 so, in 25 months, we'll have recovered $10,355 (33.7%) of the $30,700 stock purchase price – not bad!  Keep in mind that's without any call sales.  If TGT were to look toppy at $62.50 and certainly by $65, I'd want to sell at least 2 (40%) of the Jan $65 calls, now $1.35.  That would be $270 and it doesn't seem like much but that's for 68 days out of 796 – so a solid 10 sales to look forward to is $2,700 – that's more then the dividend!  

THC (1/7/18) – Hospital stocks are a great long-term demographic play and THC also operates urgent care centers, which are growing in popularity.  Runaway expectations sent the stock up to $21 and now they are back at $15.44 and the volatility has driven up the options pricing so shame on us if we don't take advantage.


In the LTP:

  • Sell 20 2020 $12 puts for $3.75 ($7,500) 
  • Buy 30 2020 $12 calls for $7.10 ($21,300) 
  • Sell 30 2020 $20 calls for $4.10 ($12,300) 

That's net $1,500 on the $24,000 spread and we'll be able to sell, for example, 10 Feb $16 calls at 0.85 ($850) using 40 of our 740 days so let's say we make 8 sales like that and make $6,800 while we wait to see if we make $22,500 (1,500%) at $20+.  

In the OOP:

  • Sell 10 2020 $12 puts for $3.75 ($3,750) 
  • Buy 15 2020 $12 calls for $7.10 ($10,650) 
  • Sell 15 2020 $20 calls for $4.10 ($6,150) 

That's net $750 on the $12,000 spread and we'll be able to sell, for example, 5 Feb $16 calls at 0.85 ($425) using 40 of our 740 days so let's say we make 8 sales like that and make $3,400 while we wait to see if we make $11,250 (1,500%) at $20+.  


WPM (1/3/18) – Last year's Trade of the Year hit our goal of $22 right on the nose and I still like them, especially if they pull back to $20.  Since I'm POSITIVE I would like to own them at $20, there's no reason not to sell the 2020 $22.50 puts for $4 – as that nets us in for $18.50 and selling 10 of those in the LTP puts $4,000 in our pockets against $2,251 in margin and reminds us to keep an eye on one of our favorite commodity stocks.  

WHR (1/3/18) – We're still low in the home-buying cycle but record employment in Europe and low unemployment in the US bode well for durable goods and WHR is nice and cheap at $167.99 and we can promise to buy them for just $130 by selling the 2020 $130 puts for $11.20.  In the LTP, we can sell 5 of them and collect $5,600 and there's another stock we'd like to own if it's cheap that they'll pay us to watch.  





I'll be working on this all week. so I am willing to take requests in comments if you have any good ideas (or want to remind me of my ideas if I haven't gotten to them)!  







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2018 looks like a continuation of 2017 – insanity! We have a president who brags about the size of his nuclear button (might be too big for his little fingers though) and markets don't seem to care! 

Busy morning Phil – some good ideas there! Just need patience now.

phil, i was hoping /NG would hit 3.2 before pulling back…what are your thoughts at this level?

Ideas / Phil – On the REIT side, I still like STWD and I think that they could weather any rate hike a bit better than the other guys.

Morning, All! Happy 2018!

We’ll be picking up with our webinars next week.

Dominion Energy to buy Scana Corp in $7.9 billion deal

Again from Tuesday's post this morning on European news are rumors that Apple is looking to purchase Netflix!!!!

Happy New Year to all!  Phil, hope you are feeling better.  Was going to remind you how cold it was here, but did not want to spoil your vacation.

~~A series of reports by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) include the holdings of senior managers and directors in company shares. Story link: {NSN P1Z6BXBE5TS1 <GO>}

* Teva has never reported these figures in the past, because it was not obliged
  to do so, but from the beginning of 2018 Teva is classed as a US domestic
  issuer, and is now required to report them by law.
* Teva lost its status as a foreign private issuer when the SEC reviewed its
  status in June last year and found that as a result of the acquisition of
  Actavis in 2016, more than 50% of Teva's assets are located in the US. It was
  therefore determined that Teva could no longer be regarded as a foreign
  company and had to report as a US company.
* Under US securities law, a company cannot be defined as foreign if more than
  50% of its shares are held by US residents and in addition one of the
  following conditions is fulfilled: more than 50% of its directors and senior
  managers are US residents; more than 50% of its assets are located in the US;
  or its business is managed from the US.
* The consequence of the switch to reporting as a domestic US company is that
  Teva now has to file full reports with the SEC and more frequently, such as
  yesterday's report on directors and senior managers' holdings.
* Last year, when Teva reported that it would not be able to continue to be
  classed as a foreign issuer, it stated that its board and management would
  continue to operate from Israel and that its business would continue to be
  mainly managed from Israel as well.

Netflix / Yodi – I saw that this morning but doesn't make a lot sense given the valuation difference between the 2 entities – one trades at a reasonable multiple, the other not so much! Can they pay a premium on top of the premium already built-in? On the other hand, great for NFLX as they would have no trouble funding new shows for sure!

Car Sales to Top 90 Million Globally for First Time

SJL — yesterday you posed the YTD scorecard.  Which website did you pull that from?  thanks

Good Morning!

STJ agree but still expected a bit more reaction on NFLX but 2$ up!

Watch list/Phil – excellent! Any big pharma such a LLY, MRK, GSK, PFE?

GM Phil// The trades that are mentioned for LTP and OOP, are they to be in a watch list or dip your toes (with a smaller allocation) with a thinking of scaling in and then add more when the market corrects?  Thanks.

Rookie, as Phil said in this mornings blog, " If I bold something in blue – it means I like that trade idea right now. "

F/Phil:  Happy New Year!  I am looking around in the 1/2/2018 post and I can't seem to find the F trade for the LTP and OOP.  Perhaps it was posted elsewhere?


Look in Phil’s main post (at the beginning).

Buy 1,000 shares of F for $12.49 ($12,490) 

Sell 10 2020 F $12 calls for $1.50 ($1,500) 

Sell 10 2020 F $12 puts for $1.50 ($1,500) 

Phil re: the new portfolios…   let's say we only have a $100K portfolio to work with, and no futures trading.  Given margin requirements, and a goal of making 25% a year, does it make sense to just have an OOP?  Or start building a new Butterfly from scratch?  Or devote $50K to each and try to halve all the quantities on each trade?

Tom this seems to be a simple answer. If you have a 100K you adjust your trades accordingly.

Phil's Portfolios are ONLY demos, everyone has to make their own decisions accordingly to risk and pocket.

F/dclark:  Oops, thanks for the info.  I totally didn't notice it in the main post.  

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