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Some Protection for Apple Earnings

By now, everyone has seen or heard of the massive drop in the share price of Apple (AAPL - Get Report) from its peak of just around $700 a share when the iPhone, iPad and anything with an "i" in front of it was booming.

Ever since Steve Jobs left, the innovation chain has broken. The catalysts that drove record-breaking revenues no longer exist.

Everyone knows Apple's massive cash position. It could have something up its sleeve in terms of bringing something new and creative to the marketplace. Investors have been begging for some sort of dividend or share buyback program in the hopes that until something new does come into play that they can be compensated somewhat for waiting.  

So, we sit here waiting for Apple to report earnings next week in hopes that it will enlighten us as to what it plans on doing with the cash on hand. With all the hype that Samsung has been generating with its Galaxy, it will be no surprise for Apple to report slower-than-expected revenue growth in the mobile and tablet space. And if earnings disappoint, Apple could bottom, having flushed out everyone who doesn't want to be in the name. If they somehow surprise to the upside, and frankly at this point it would be a quite a surprise, then it's anyone's game.

Here are some strategies that can help generate some income and/or protection in either case.

First, since Apple generates a small dividend and is not increasing it with its massive cash position, additional income can be generated in the cash market. By selling upside calls, investors can generate some sort of income stream depending on the strike and expiration that they choose.

Second, if you are one of hardcore Apple stock holders who will never sell Apple, even if it goes down to $1 a share, then think about buying some put spreads to gain some protection to the downside. Just buying puts at this point will be too expensive, since volatility is already too high, so consider lightening up the cost with spreads.

Third, you can combine the first two strategies into one strategy in selling the upside calls and buying the put or put spread.

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