The advantages of buying the call over the stock are overwhelming for an investor ready to buy shares. If you buy the call option, your total risk is about $2.14 based on Wednesday's closing price.
Even though your total risk is about 12% of the underlying shares, the upside is unlimited, just like the shares.
The main disadvantage of buying calls instead of the underlying stock is premium/time decay; however, the time decay is virtually eliminated. The upcoming ex-dividend date skews the option premium to the point that buying calls is free or nearly free from a time premium point of view. The ex-dividend date isn't for two weeks, yet the time premium is only five cents for a stock with a beta of 1.24.
The option will always have at least the intrinsic value to the option owner because even if you can't sell the option, you can always exercise it and then sell the shares. With a time premium of only five cents, that is the most you will have to pay in time premium, and likely the time premium will not go down between now and the day before CSX trades ex-dividend.
Close out or exercise the option before CSX trades ex-dividend to capture gains from now until then.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.