If you're like me, you hate to chase a stock gone wild.
I mean, this discipline is so ingrained, that I will write put options against these stocks with the intent of being forced into equity ownership when the share price dips. Sometimes the share price never seems to dip enough, and strike prices are never met on expiration day. Sometimes all you do is increase your cash balance in a most pedestrian way, while the equity holders are rewarded for their greater risk appetite.
One can't complain. At least by selling puts, the trader was on the right side of the line of scrimmage.
Two such stocks, for me at least are Apple (AAPL) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) . Apple is facing a potential catalyst one week from today when the firm is expected to unveil the new iPhones on September 12th. Both Canaccord Genuity and RBC Capital Markets got in front of the event by increasing their respective price targets of $250 and $240 yesterday. The shares went out last night at $228.36, up small on a down day for the markets.
Now, that other firm... AMD... they have an unfair advantage over their direct competition. They have CEO Lisa Su at the helm.
I liked Brian Krzanich. I thought that he was a very good leader for a data-center centric business like Intel (INTC) . He was a main reason why the stock had been a core position in my main portfolio for a good while. When the scandal that involved Mr. Krzanich broke, I took a profit on half of my position. That turned out to be the smartest move that I have made in response to that news. The worst move that I made was hanging on to the other half. I have also added back some of the shares sold earlier at current levels. I'll let you know how that turns out down the road.
I have traded in and out of Advanced Micro Devices several times. I have sold puts along the way that expired worthless. Pretty nifty. Not quite as nifty however as the investors that bought and held this name. Tip of the cap if that is you. AMD and INTC were at one time considered rivals. I guess they still are. As the rising star that is AMD has taken market share away from INTC in the data-center, they have also become a Nvidia (NVDA) rival in some of the fields, such as gaming where Nvidia has been the dominant player.
While Cowen was raising that firm's price target for AMD to $30, Evercore ISI had a lot to say about the semiconductor industry in general. While Evercore heaped praise on several firms, they told you to avoid Intel through the rest of the year. Ouch.
At some point, Intel will name a successor to the post of chief executive. I had thought for quite some time that this might anchor the perception of a firm lost at sea, and act as a catalyst. The firm has historically hired from within. Now rumor has it that there are four candidates in the running, two internal and two former Qualcomm (QCOM) executives. Really, while I have hoped that the firm would go after Lisa Su in the past, I know that is unrealistic. Any name at this point might afford a minor improvement in the share price. Any minor improvement, I will look at as an opportunity to reduce exposure to INTC. I have owned the name long-term, so my basis is fine, the name just does not excite me at this point.
As for AMD, the stock soared 11% on Tuesday, closing at $28.06. The firm reports next on October 22nd. You going to grab them here? Today? Me neither. October 19 $27 puts still paid $1.90 last night. So would you risk having to buy the shares at $25.10 in order to pocket the $1.90? That sounds like a decent risk/reward set-up. A truly skittish investor could get paid $1.10 for the October 19th $24 puts. Does $22.90 in six weeks scare anyone? Scare is a strong word.
(A longer version of this column appeared at 8:18 a.m. ET on Real Money, our premium site for active traders. Click here to get great columns like this from Stephen "Sarge" Guilfoyle, Jim Cramer and other experts throughout the market day.)