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Dykstra: Reflections and Remembrances

On America's birthday, let me take the opportunity to introduce you to a new monthly feature in which I will review my picks and my performance for each month. I recognize that many fans like to keep score; now I'm providing them a way to do so.

Remember, with my low risk/high reward strategy utilizing in-the-money call options, we insulate ourselves from the drastic market swings that the ordinary trader must endure. We accomplish this by giving ourselves a significant time frame, approximately four to six months, before our in-the-money calls expire.

That doesn't mean, however, that we can't achieve our goal, a $1,000 profit, in just a few days or weeks. This is demonstrated by my June 12 pick , the Dow Chemical (DOW) December $30 in-the-money calls. We purchased these calls at $8.80 and they turned out to be exactly what I said they would in my column: the best risk/reward opportunity I had seen with this stock.

Faithful readers may note that I have mentioned Dow Chemical frequently in past columns. In fact, I have mentioned it in 11 columns. Trading in and out of a high-quality company like Dow Chemical when its stock falls and its in-the-money-calls are priced attractively is a great example of how I approach the market.

Remember, this is not a "buy-and-hold" operation. Our goal is all about making money. We want to reap at least a $1,000 profit after we purchase our deep in-the-money calls. To help us do that, we set a good-until-canceled (GTC) limit sell order. This way, we don't have to watch the tape every second the market is open.

We are protecting our investment -- if the stock makes a nice move and spikes up during the trading day, your order will automatically get filled because you set a GTC limit sell order -- typically 1 point above our in-the-money call price. This will allow you to capture that $1,000 gain without making a phone call or watching your computer all day.

And now, on to our other picks from June, all of which I'm still long as of this writing.

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