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Excerpt from Stock World Weekly, Technically Speaking, April 22, 2012.
Courtesy of Pharmboy
That was a nice selloff - one that we have been waiting for, and there may be more to come!
Protalix BioTherapeutics, Inc. (PLX, $6.78) has an FDA decision coming up, and we have several positions in it still open. I’m waiting for the decision. For those that like to gamble on risky events, the May $7.5 calls make a good risk/reward for $0.80 cents. I like selling the $10 calls for $0.25 cents, which limits the upside, but also reduces the cost to $0.55 cents for the spread.
“Scott sent in two long trade ideas for this week’s newsletter. First, Scott likes OPKO Health Inc. (OPK, $4.73) because of the repeated insider buying of the stock. “55 buys this year ... almost daily.” Scott shared an interview with Dr. Phillip Frost, OPKO’s Chairman and CEO, on Seeking Alpha, by John Eastman. Here’s the introduction:
“‘OPKO Health Inc. Is a pharmaceutical and diagnostics company headquartered in Miami, FL that develops and commercializes novel and proprietary technologies that include molecular diagnostics tests, vaccines to diagnose, treat, and prevent neurological disorders, infectious diseases, oncology, and ophthalmologic diseases. The company works in the United States, Chile, and Mexico and is headed by Phillip Frost, M.D...’ Continue reading the interview with Dr. Frost here.”
OPK’s CEO continues to accumulate shares, and the stock is trading at around $5. I think selling the September $5 call and put for $1.20 combined, coupled with the purchase of shares, has a good risk/reward profile.
As for other new trades:
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX, $36.58) was already a winner once, and I think the time is ripe to start scaling in for owning shares of this company longer term. I like selling one $30 October 2012 put for $2.50 or better. For more aggressive traders, I like the put sale coupled with buying the $35/40 October 2012 bull call spread for $2.15. That is a net $0.35 cent credit. IF VRTX stays above $30 till the expiration date in October, the net gain is $0.35 - i.e., if the stock closes between $30 and $35, then one pockets the 35 cents.
IF VRTX is above $40, the net gain is $5.35!
Seattle Genetics (SGEN, $19.52) is a staple in my portfolio and a company I continue to believe is being eyed by big pharma. With the recent sell off, I like selling puts to get back in and see if the market makers want to give this to me at a discount. I like selling two $15 September 2012 puts for $1.00 or better.
Immunogen (IMGN, $12.48) - this one has been a huge winner at Phil's Stock World, and it continues to give us premium as we have been selling puts and calls against our virtual stock position. As a new trade, I like selling two $10 October 2012 puts for $1.20 or better. The spreads are very wide on this position, so I start a bit higher and DO NOT take less than $1.20.
SABRIENT'S BAKER'S DOZEN
If you missed Sabrient's Baker's Dozen webcast, we have Sabrient's stock picks for next year here. Steven Russolillo at the Wall Street Journal covered the Baker's Dozen in “Stock Picks From a Group That Has Beaten the Market for Three Years Running.” He wrote, “Classic Wall Street strategies like the ‘Dogs of the Dow’ or ‘sell in May and go away’ have been around for years and have produced mixed results. A relatively new approach with a strong track record is hoping to gain some traction.
"Market research firm Sabrient Systems last night unveiled its ‘Baker’s Dozen’ list of top stock picks for 2012. The firm combines a fundamental and quantitative approach that combs through thousands of stocks before selecting what it believes will be 13 top picks of the year...”
Chuck Jaffe at MarketWatch also reported on the Baker's Dozen in “13 stocks for 2012.” Reviewing the results over the last three years, Chuck noted, “In 2011, Sabrient’s list averaged a gain of 7.3% — hurt by a loss of 73% in Trina Solar TSL — with its best stock up 105%.” (Trina may be an example of why considering a stop loss with this strategy may be reasonable.) In 2010, the Baker’s Dozen stocks gained an average of 21%, and in 2009, they gained an average of 36%.
Sabrient's top stocks are selected because they score high on Sabrient's “growth at a reasonable price” (GARP) scale. Phil's buy-write strategy is well-suited for these stocks, as these companies have solid fundamentals but are selling at reasonable prices according to Sabrient's formula.
Sabrient's Baker's Dozen list for 2012:
Seagate Technology (STX) - Currently $18.30
Western Refining (WNR) - Currently $14.83
Ocwen Financial Corp. (OCN) - Currently $14.47
Watson Pharmaceuticals (WPI) - Currently $63.21
United Therapeutics (UTHR) - Currently $48.52
Cloud Peak Energy (CLD) - Currently $19.86
Globe Specialty Metals (GSM) - Currently $12.71
Dana Holding (DAN) - Currently $13.16
AGCO Corp. (AGCO) - Currently $47.64
DXP Enterprises (DXPE) - Currently $33.95
Kronos Worldwide (KRO) - Currently $21.70
United Rentals (URI) - Currently $29.63
Ameristar Casinos (ASCA) - Currently $17.35
Stock World Weekly editor Ilene asked Scott Brown at Sabrient to give us some buy-write ideas, designed so that one could enter some of these picks with a 10-20% discount. Scott sent in several ideas. Using the buy-write strategy, one would buy 100 shares of stock and sell 1 call and 1 put to complete the position.
WNR: Sell the Mar $15 call at $1.40 and sell the Mar $15 put at $1.65.
STX: Sell the Mar $18 call at $1.50 and sell the Mar $18 put at $1.35.
GSM: Sell the Mar $12.50 call at $1.20 and sell the Mar $12.50 put at $0.95.
DAN: Sell the Mar $13 call at $1.20 and sell the Mar $13 put $1.00.
Updated Jan. 1, 2012. Happy New Year!
We have three timely buy/write ideas from Pharmboy to illustrate how the "buy/write" works. Key is that for 100 shares of stock, Pharmboy sells 1 call and 1 put against the 100 share position. This is a bullish position, but hedged by
(1) the sold call. The price of the sold call increases if the stock rises, but decreases if the stock falls. Thus, being short the call limits a gain on the stock while offsetting a loss in the stock, and
(2) selling the premium in both the SOLD call and put. If the stock price rises, the value of the sold call goes up but the value of the sold put goes down (making it cheaper to buy the put back, but more expensive to buy the call back). Because the call and put are SOLD, not bought, as the time on the options run out, the premium runs down as well.
These trade ideas were posted in this week's Stock World Weekly, "Sound and Fury". This is an excerpt. To learn more about this strategy, and for more examples, keep reading below.
We are also reiterating a few trade ideas Pharmboy mentioned in our recent review of his ideas in Stock World Weekly, December 18, No Virginia, There is No Santa Claus Rally. In that issue, Pharmboy wrote, “Regarding Protalix BioTherapeutics, (PLX, $5.23), I am hopeful that PLX will get approval for taliglucerase alfa in May or June of 2012. In our virtual portfolio, we have 200 shares of PLX (average cost of $5.26). I’d add a buy-write to the PLX shares. The trade idea in a “buy/write” is to SELL one call and SELL one put per each 100 shares of stock owned. For 200 shares of PLX, I like selling two May 2012 $7.50 calls and selling two May 2012 $7.50 puts for $3.70 or better combined. This strategy gives us a chance to let PLX rise over time and buy back the put before the FDA date. I like the same idea for a new position in PLX.”
PLX opened on Dec. 19 at $5.19 and closed Dec. 30 at $4.93. The May 2012 $7.50 calls are trading at $0.55 and the May 2012 $7.50 puts are trading at $3.10 - these can still be sold for $3.65 combined. Shares of PLX are now cheaper.
Pharmboy also discussed several other trade ideas for his virtual portfolio. He still likes the two outlined below. (The third, a long trade idea based on CRIS, is out his initial range. CRIS is 13% higher - it opened Dec. 19 at $4.13 and closed Dec. 30 at $4.68.)
Pharmboy: “PDLI ($6.01) – I like selling one May 2012 $6 call and put for $0.95 or better for 100 shares of PDLI.” PDLI opened at $6.01 on Dec. 19 and closed at $6.20 on Dec. 30. The May 2012 $6 call is trading at $0.50 and the May 2012 put is trading at $0.40 - these can still be sold for a combined $0.90.
“MITI ($6.88) - I like selling one May 2012 $7.5 call and put for $1.90 or better for 100 shares of MITI.” MITI opened at $6.92 on Dec. 19 and closed at $7.19 on Dec. 30. The May 2012 $7.50 call is trading at $0.70 and the May 2012 $7.5 put is trading at $1.10 - these can still be sold for a combined $1.80.
NEW (an afterthought): I also like buying 100 shares of VRTX ($33.21) combined with selling a Jan. 2013 $35 call and selling a Jan. 2013 $30 put for $12 or so.
(For previous examples from Pharmboy, keep scrolling down.)
Courtesy of Phil's Stock World
If this market hasn’t convinced you that buy and hold is a gamble, I don’t know what will. Holding any stock for more than a day can be a recipe for heartache (sometimes in just an hour), but we have been having a good time during our member sessions, bottom fishing, and concentrating on plays that give us much better prices than the ones paid by the average retail investor.
Phil’s Buy/Write Strategy is a method commonly used at Phil's Stock World for establishing bullish positions in value stocks. It is a variation of one of the most effective, time-tested tools for investing in volatile markets, and it allows us to purchase shares in a company for less than the current price. As long as you are willing to own 200 shares of a stock, this system can reliably give you a 10-20% discount off the current market price.
A buy/write options strategy gives you a simple method to invest in equities at better prices than those paid by the average investor.
By writing (selling) options against the stock, we collect option premiums - that's where the discount comes from.
This is a long term strategy. Currently, there are many stocks trading at multi-year lows, and it’s important to select ones that have strong underlying fundamentals. Another sound investing principle is to scale in, because our timing is rarely perfect and the market is quite volatile. Selling options simultaneously with buying a stock is one way to automatically scale in - to enter a position in stages.
Selling puts and calls against a stock is a way to automatically follow the scaling system.
The key is to pick stocks that are:
- Trading near lows/undervalued
- Fairly volatile
- NOT likely to go bankrupt
- Either pay dividends or have good growth
- Have a clear path of continuing contracts to write
- You don’t mind owning the shares long-term
The great thing is – there's always an option.
We have featured over 100 of these "Buy-Write" plays in member chat. They offer a good way to capitalize on volatility while hedging risk. If the market flatlines or declines, we are positioned in stocks at good prices that can generate a reasonable monthly income – which will keep us flexible in a challenging market!
Example Buy-Write Trades
United Therapeutics Corporation (UTHR) ~ Anatomy of a Buy-Write (Oct. 17, 2011)
Below is a new trade idea from Pharmboy to illustrate the Buy/Write Strategy.
For a stock that has strong underlying fundamentals at a good price, Pharmboy decided on UTHR for this example.
Phil’s Buy/Write Strategy in Action (October 17, 2011):
Trade Idea: Buy 100 shares of UTHR ($39.20) and Sell 1 May 2012 $40 Call and Sell 1 May 2012 $35 Put for approximately $7.80 combined.
Thus, approximately $7.80 is collected in premium against the $39.20 price for the stock. This reduces the net cost to $31.40.
Three possible scenarios:
1. If UTHR trades above $40 at expiration in May, 2012, then we give up the shares purchased for $40, keeping the $7.80 premium (from selling the options) and an appreciation of $0.20 on the stock. That's a gain of $8 on an initial outlay of $31.40. The result is ~ 25% profit, and we end up out of the position completely.
2. If UTHR trades below $35, we are obligated (due to the put we sold) to buy another 100 shares of stock at $35. Our average price will be ($31.40 + $35)/2, or $33.20. Our cost for 200 shares would be 15% less than if we simply bought 200 shares of stock at $39.20 now.
If 200 shares is our full position, we can later write 2 calls against the position, and collect more option premium. If our ultimate position size is larger, we can also write a put against the position–opening the possibility of owning another 100 shares in the future.
3. If UTHR is trading between $35 and $40 at expiration in May, 2012, both the call and the put will expire worthless, and we will be left with 100 shares of UTHR for a cost of $31.40. Again, we could write another call and/or put against the position.
This is a common strategy of hedge fund managers, but anyone can do it. It is one of the best ways to capitalize on volatility while hedging risk on long positions.
The latest Buy-Write idea in Stock World Weekly (Oct. 16, 2011), came from our resident biotech expert, Pharmboy.
TEVA ~ new trade idea (Oct. 16, 2011)
Pharmboy wrote, “Amidst a market run-up of epic proportions, I like selling premium. I also like buying good companies, with stable revenues, and a sizable dividend. TEVA ($39.17) is a generic drug maker that just acquired Cephalon for its drug pipeline. The stock is cheap, and revenues should be stable over the coming year.
I like buying 100 shares here, and selling the Jan. 2013 $40 call and Jan. 2013 $35 put for $9 or better.
AstraZeneca (AZN) ~ previous trade idea (Sept. 18, 2011)
Note: price of AZN at the close of Sept. 16, 2011 was $44.91. On the 19th, it traded lower, between $43.62 and $44.39. On Oct. 17, 2011, it was trading at $46.64.
Excerpt from Stock World Weekly (Sept. 18, 2011 Issue):
We have a trade idea this week from Pharmboy, who wrote, “I am looking at companies that have safety for income portfolios at reasonable prices. AstraZeneca (AZN, $44.91) has a 5.3% dividend yield, a solid pipeline, steady revenues, and a forward P/E of about 7. I like buying the stock here, and, for those interested in lowering their cost via selling options premium, I like selling the January 2013 $40 calls and puts for $11.50 combined. That results in a buy/write price of ~$33.40/$36.70. It's simple and shouldn't need managing for some time.
(Editors’ note: If 100 shares of AZN are bought for $44.90 and 1 put and 1 call are both sold for $11.50 combined, that reduces the cost to $33.40. If AZN is trading above $40 at expiration, the stock will be called away and the put will expire worthless. The gain will be $6.60 on an investment of $33.40, or 20%. If the stock is below $40, it will be “put” to the person who sold the Jan. 2013 $40 put, for $40, so the new cost, an average of the first 100 shares at $33.40 and the second 100 shares at $40, will be ($33.40 + $40)/2 or $36.70.)
New Buy/Write Trade Ideas from Pharmboy on November 6, 2011.
Pharmboy's Trade Ideas
This week’s trade ideas come from Pharmboy, who submitted the following essay. The remainder of this section is courtesy of Pharmboy.
At PSW, we focus on just about everything from virtual day trades to virtual income portfolios. As Barry Ritholtz noted, the average stock is being held no longer than seven months (in 2007). For longer term, dividend-yielding stocks, a few companies stand out. For investors looking for a mix of solid companies with more speculative biotechs, here are some ideas. Most are buy/write examples - buying 100 shares and selling 1 call and 1 put to reduce the net cost of the shares. (For more details on recent buy/write examples, click here.)
Merck (MRK, $34.02) - we initiated a virtual buy/write on MRK by selling the Jan. 2013 $40 call and $35 put for $8 (sold). We bought the stock for $37.30. Currently MRK is trading lower, but the calls and puts more than offset the lower stock price. I like initiating a virtual new spread by buying 100 shares, and selling 1 Jan. 2013 $35 call and 1 Jan. 2013 $30 put for $5.20 or better (combined).
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY, $31.34) - we initiated a buy/write on BMY buying 100 shares and by selling the Jan. 2013 $25 call and $27.5 put for $7.70 (sold). Currently, BMY is trading at $31. For a new virtual position, I would buy the stock and sell the Jan. 2013 $30 call and $27.5 put for $5.80 or better.
(Ed. note: Pharmboy switched from selling a higher strike BMY Jan. 2013 put in the first buy/write example to selling a higher strike call in the second example. The reason is that he thought the stock would rise when he provided the first virtual trade idea. Now, he is less confident that BMY will trade higher, although he thinks BMY should stay above $25, even if stocks trade lower.)
Pfizer (PFE, $19.66) - Not one of my favorite big pharmas. Lipitor comes off patent...but IF it maintains its dividend, I’d be VERY conservative with a buy-write. I like buying 100 shares, and selling 1 Jan. 2013 $15 call and 1 Jan. 2013 $17.5 put for $6.65 or better.
British Petroleum (BP, $43.85) - things are looking up for this oil giant, and it pays a nice dividend. I like buying 100 shares and selling 1 Jan. 2013 $40 call and put for $13.30 or better.
Sunoco (SUN, $37.65) - I like selling a Jan. $25 2013 put for $2.50 or better (trading at $2.44 now). This is to initiate a future buy of SUN. (This is not a buy-write - it's a simple Selling of a Put, which may lead to buying a position at a discount from the current price.)
Intel (INTC, $23.74) - this tech giant continues to shine. I like buying 100 shares and selling 1 Jan. 2013 $22.50 call and put for $6.05 or better.
For more trade ideas from Pharmboy, sign up for a free trial to Stock World Weekly and read the rest of the newsletter here >
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Hypothetical or simulated performance results have certain limitations unlike an actual performance report. Simulated results do not represent actual trading. Also, since the trades have not actually been executed, the results may have under or over compensated for the impact, if any, of certain market factors such as lack of liquidity. Simulated trading programs in general are also subject to the benefit of hindsight. No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve profits or losses similar to those shown.