Shareholders of West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (WST) looking to boost their income beyond the stock's 0.5% annualized dividend yield can sell the March 2014 covered call at the $85 strike and collect the premium based on the 50 cents bid, which annualizes to an additional 1.1% rate of return against the current stock price (at Stock Options Channel we call this the YieldBoost), for a total of 1.6% annualized rate in the scenario where the stock is not called away. Any upside above $85 would be lost if the stock rises there and is called away, but WST shares would have to advance 11.9% from current levels for that to occur, meaning that in the scenario where the stock is called, the shareholder has earned a 12.6% return from this trading level, in addition to any dividends collected before the stock was called.
In general, dividend amounts are not always predictable and tend to follow the ups and downs of profitability at each company. In the case of West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc., looking at the dividend history chart for WST below can help in judging whether the most recent dividend is likely to continue, and in turn whether it is a reasonable expectation to expect a 0.5% annualized dividend yield.
Below is a chart showing WST's trailing twelve month trading history, with the $85 strike highlighted in red: The chart above, and the stock's historical volatility, can be a helpful guide in combination with fundamental analysis to judge whether selling the March 2014 covered call at the $85 strike gives good reward for the risk of having given away the upside beyond $85. (Do most options expire worthless? This and six other common options myths debunked). We calculate the trailing twelve month volatility for West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (considering the last 250 trading day closing values as well as today's price of $75.88) to be 16%. For other call options contract ideas at the various different available expirations, visit the WST Stock Options page of StockOptionsChannel.com. In mid-afternoon trading on Friday, the put volume among S&P 500 components was 696,122 contracts, with call volume at 1.16M, for a put:call ratio of 0.60 so far for the day. Compared to the long-term median put:call ratio of .65, that represents high volume relative to puts; in other words, buyers are showing a preference for calls in options trading so far today.
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