The Money Tree

Safely Generating Income in Retirement

New Trade – WAG

Posted by mounddweller on September 30, 2012

Fellow Traders,

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I made two trades this week.  The first was a naked put trade in WM.  The second was a covered call trade in Walgreens (WAG).  I have been following WAG for pretty much all of 2012.  Back in February and again in July I had sold puts at the $30 strike price.  Both expired out of the money (OTM).

Walgreens has had a difficult year.  Their business took a substantial hit when they were not able to mutually agree on terms of their contract with Express Scripts.  However, a few months apart has since convinced both companies that they are better off working together.  Consequently a new contract has been signed and went into effect earlier this month.

WAG closed Friday at $36.44, very near it’s 52-wk high of $36.90.  It’s 52-wk low is $28.53.  Normally I do not like to buy or trade stocks that are trading near their 52-wk highs.  I’m cheap and thus am almost always looking for a bargain.  However, in this case, I believe WAG is a bargain despite trading near yearly highs.  Why?  Well because of the difficulties I referenced earlier.    The stock has been beaten down all year and now that investors have a more favorable outlook its price has begun to recover.  Despite this recovery it remains well below its multi-year high of $45.  It also is reasonably priced at 12.5x trailing and 10.5x expected earnings.  The 5-yr price chart is below.

There are a couple of reasons that I decided to go ahead and enter a covered call trade in WAG.  First, its another stock that I want to own in my long-term portfolio.  Amazingly, it has increased its dividend almost 200% in the past five years, from 9.5c to 27.5c per quarter.  It currently yields 3.1%.  With the baby-boomers (of which I’m one) beginning to retire in droves, I believe the substantial dividend increases are sustainable .  Second, I liked the recent price action in the stock.  It has formed a classic ‘cup with handle’ formation that generally results in an upward break-out in price.

Here’s the trade I made and my intermediate term plan for this stock.  I bought 300 shares of WAG at $35.86 and simultaneously (buy/write) sold 3 OCT $37 calls at $0.46.  This gives me a net cost of $35.42.  If assigned at expiration, I’ll have a 4.46% ROIC with a holding period of less than 30 days.  If WAG remains under $37, I’ll be in a position to capture the upcoming dividend when it goes ex-dividend around November 9.   After OCT expiration I may sell another OTM round of calls.  If WAG begins to fall, I’ll look to add to my position by selling puts at the $32 strike price.



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