The financial talking heads and pundits have been saying for some time now that the stock market is destined to take another nosedive in the near future. Time will tell whether their short-term predictions are correct or not, but the stock market is cyclical, so there will always be ups and downs, which causes problems for investors using the covered call investing strategy.
Investors in stocks naturally like it when stocks are on the upswing, but don’t like it when stocks are sliding downward. One way to cushion the downside is with an in-the-money covered call investing strategy. Generally, investors consider covered calls as limited return on the upside with a lot of exposure to the downside. However, in-the-money covered calls can provide monthly income while also providing downside protection.
Mention the term covered call investing strategy, and many investors picture limited upside potential, with the potential for making a small profit. These investors may also consider the real beneficiaries of the covered call investing strategy to be the sellers of the call options who benefit handsomely when the price of the stock increases significantly.
The state of California is in financial distress. Unlike its municipalities, California cannot seek protection under the United States Bankruptcy Code (“Bankruptcy Code”). The state will have to address the crisis through a range of non-bankruptcy options. State issued IOUs will have to be paid. Contractors may be amenable to renegotiating their contracts. Perhaps the arrival of “stimulus package” funds will alleviate some distress. Debt will be reduced by agreement, in some cases, and refinanced or extended in others.
Although the recession began in December 2007, the first very public casualty came in September 2008, with the collapse of Lehman Brothers (LEH). Subsequently, between September 2008 and March 2009 the U.S. economy contracted by 5.5% and consumer prices plummeted by 12.4% in the final quarter of 2008. However, since the 1940s, recessions in the United States have typically existed for approximately a year. Furthermore, there are already symptoms of recovery. For example, consumer prices have increased by a 2.2% annual rate for the first quarter of 2009.
Mountain View, California-based Google Corporation (GOOG), best known for its white page search engine and recently its Chrome web browser, announced on Tuesday (07-08-09) that it is working on a PC operating system called ChromeOS. Google is currently aiming the OS at the relatively new netbook segment that is served mostly by Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows operating system at the moment. However, Google has expectations the ChromeOS will eventually make its way onto other computer systems such as laptops and desktops. Initial reactions to this announcement have varied greatly, and considering Google hasn’t released much information about the new operating system, or how it intends to market it, much of what is said is speculation.
A method for making money in a neutral stock market is with the iron condor. An iron condor is a neutral stock options strategy and consists of a combination of a bull-put credit spreads and a bear-call credit spreads. A credit spreads trade is entered by selling stock options and simultaneously purchasing stock options.
In late June 2009, Steve Jobs returned to work as Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) CEO. His return comes following a surprise five-month hiatus, which Jobs claimed he needed as the result of “complex” health issues. We now know he had a liver transplant at a Memphis hospital in April. Speculation about Jobs’s health and the future of Apple has swirled for months, ever since he appeared gaunt at public appearances last summer. Given his and his company’s prior dissembling about his health, can we now trust assurances that he is recovering well? And what does this all mean for Apple and its competitors?
In my experience, the best time to sell a covered call is really based on the performance of the stock. For example, I have a few low priced stocks that are trading around the $6.00 range. I cannot sell the 7.5 strike calls as there is little or no premium, and I do not want to sell the 5 strike call as I do not want to get it called away.
In light of the slight upswing of the national economy, the housing market has begun to follow suit. According to the Commerce Department, construction of new homes has risen 17.2 percent in the last month, higher than the rate economists predicted following April’s record low. This, combined with the steady increase of building permits issued, is a good indication that home construction is and will be experiencing resurgence in the near future. The construction of multi-family homes has seen the greatest increase in the last month at 61.7 percent with single-family homes rising 7.5 percent. Further positive news, is that the wholesale price remains in check, despite this increase in construction. As the market slowly improves, well-established major homebuilders have demonstrated the smallest quarterly losses throughout the economic downturn.