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Dykstra's Deep-in-the-Money Call: Pfizer

Financial firms continued to disappoint on Monday as Bank of America (BAC) said its quarterly earnings fell by a whopping 77%, missing Wall Street's expectations.

National City (NCC) also lost its shirt yesterday as the bank's shares fell more than 27% following news that it will sell $7 billion in equity at a significant discount. The firm also posted a $171 million loss in the quarter.

However, I am turning my attention to the health-care sector today. Merck (MRK) doubled its quarterly income from the year ago period and reaffirmed its full-year guidance, but the stock fell slightly on Monday. Drug maker Eli Lilly (LLY) missed its numbers and saw its price slide nearly 5%, while Quest Diagnostics (DGX) gained 7.7% on better-than-expected earnings.

Pfizer (PFE) recently hit a 52-week low, and today I'm going with the pharmaceuticals giant.

Last week, Pfizer announced its quarterly numbers, which fell short of Wall Street's expectations. The drug maker turned in net income of $4 billion, or 61 cents a share, on an adjusted basis. That's well off the $4.8 billion, or 68 cents a share the company earned in the year-ago period. Analysts had been calling for 66 cents a share. Its revenue also came up short at $11.8 billion. The Street had been expecting $12 billion in revenue.

The shop attributed the disappointing numbers to a drop in sales of its well-known cholesterol drug Lipitor as well as the loss of exclusivity for its hypertension drug Norvasc, and allergy drug Zyrtec

The stock has gotten absolutely hammered lately, hitting a 52-week low of $20.13 yesterday before closing just pennies higher at $20.20. Its highest point in the last year came in early June 2007 when it traded at $27.73.

Adding insult to injury, news reports on Monday said The Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to Pfizer about one of its Viagra ads. The federal regulator said the ad, which features country musicians singing the praises of the impotency drug, raised concerns because it did not disclose the drug's risks.

Pfizer chalked the situation up to a technical error with the Web site where the ad appeared and said the mistake has been fixed.

However, despite the pain, the company has had some good news recently. On Monday, Pfizer said high doses of Lipitor cut the chance of a heart attack or stroke by 32% in patients with heart or chronic kidney disease. The findings were the result of a five-year study.

The company also reaffirmed its projections for the full year during its recent earnings call., saying it expects profits of between $2.35 and $2.45 a share, which wraps right around the analysts' consensus of $2.39 a share. Pfizer is also still predicting revenue to come in between $47 billion and $49 billion, while Wall Street is calling for $48.3 billion.

Pfizer is poised for an about-face. It's a good company trading at a bargain price. That's why I am placing an order to buy 10 contracts leaping all the way out until January, 2009. I will place a limit order at $3.20 or better for the $17.50 (VPEAW) calls. That should give plenty of time for things turn in our favor. If the order is filled, don't forget to place a GTC sell order $1.00 above the fill price.

Always Remember: Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!

At the time of publication, Dykstra had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Nicknamed 'Nails' for his tough style of play, Lenny is a former Major League Baseball player for the 1986 World Champions, New York Mets and the 1993 National League Champions, Philadelphia Phillies. A three time All-Star as a ballplayer, Lenny now serves as president for several privately held businesses in Southern California. He is the founder of The Players Club; it has been his desire to give back to the sport that gave him early successes in life by teaching athletes how to invest and protect their incomes. He currently manages his own portfolio and writes an investment strategy column for, and is featured regularly on CNBC and other cable news shows. Lenny was selected as OverTime Magazine's 2006-2007 "Entrepreneur of the Year."

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