Stock option volume for Check Point (CHKP) was significantly up yesterday, and there does not appear to be any related news. Check Point is in the business of providing hardware and software security products. The company provides products for data traffic inspection, intrusion prevention, virtual private networks, content screening and messaging security. Check Point markets its products to large companies and to individual consumers as well. For example in the consumer space, Check Point provides software for securing a PC’s hard drive.
Stock and option volume for EZCORP (EZPW) was significantly up yesterday, probably due to their pending earnings conference call scheduled for today at 3:30pm CST. EZCORP is basically in the pawn shop/short term credit business with 294 pawn stores and 477 signature loan stores in the U.S. and 38 pawn stores in Mexico. With the economy in the doldrums and consumers looking for cash, EZCORP should be raking in the profits. Competitors to EZCORP include First Cash Financial Services (FCFS) and Cash American International (CSH). Interestingly all three of these companies are based in the state of Texas.
The real beauty of the covered calls strategy is making money on a stock, even when the price of the stock doesn’t move. Yes, it’s nice to make the extra income for a covered calls position when the underlying stock increases in price and the position is rolled, but what really adds oomph to the covered calls strategy is the positions that make money when a stock goes nowhere or even drops slightly in price.
The expression “you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip” refers to not being able to get something out of someone that they don’t have. Stock option trading can often feel like trying to squeeze blood from a turnip. However, with a little effort and some patience it is possible to squeeze blood from the stock option market.
The announcement that a clinical trial of BenlystaTM, the lupus drug from Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (HGSI), is showing positive results has sent the company’s stock soaring. This is good news for both lupus sufferers and investors, but can the company sustain its newly polished image?
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.
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?
Recently, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), known for their Windows operating system, MS Office suite and Office Live online services has decided to re-brand their Live web search service to Bing. At first look, Bing already appears different then the traditional web search engines. The layout is considerably different then what most are used to with the popular Google Search engine from Google Corporation (GOOG). Instead of just offering a plain white page with a list of possible matches, Bing offers the user with results, and a menu of other possible actions. For instance, a search for Mustang pulls up pictures of Ford Mustangs, listings for the car, and a menu with such options as parts, sale, and accessories.
General Motors (GM) on June 2, 2009 suspended trade on the New York Stock Exchange. One of the big three automakers and an icon in American business since 1908, the collapse and subsequent filing for bankruptcy has illustrated General Motors’ inability to keep the company profitable and viable. In requesting from the US government financial assistance, General Motors has transitioned to Government Union Motors.
What the market may be learning from the demise of Circuit City, once the nation’s number two electronics retailer, is that today’s consumers have little patience with young, lower-paid hourly workers who display scant knowledge of the latest products. When it comes to home electronics, some consumers are comfortable enough with the technology to buy online, while others look to brick-and-mortar stores with knowledgeable sales staff, adept at demystifying increasingly complex appliances. And this may be why small regional electronics retailers are thriving in this economic downturn: Their back-to-the-future business model includes commissioned sales staff, trained to explain new technology.