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Fastenal Quietly Locks Up Profits

The average purchase price for those five lots was $47.27 with the average strike price of the lots being $47.80. Based on today's closing price of $46.41, the average price of all shares, including those of previously assigned positions is $47.45. If somehow I could magically close the book on the positions today the cumulative return would be 23.6% when shares themselves are actually trading at a loss compared to the average cost. During that same time frame the S&P 500 has advanced approximately 8.5%.

FAST Chart
data by YCharts

Why am I telling you this? Because of the future opportunities reflected in Fastenal's chart over the past five weeks.

The banality of variation during that time is exactly what excites a covered option strategist. While a consistent flat line wouldn't do very much to encourage option buyers to ante up the premiums, the occasional paroxysms of price, up or down, make selling Fastenal call options an appealing complement to an overall strategy of trying to optimize share returns and dividends.

More important, the setting of a strike price at which options are sold establishes discipline by creating an exit point and doing what is often left undone -- taking profits.

Fastenal may be staid, and its stock may not reflect broad market averages or big changes to GDP.  But as a component of a covered option strategy, the stock could lead comfortable profits.

At the time of publication, the author was long Fastenal.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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