Major league baseball's non-waiver trade deadline is 4 p.m. EDT today, and Carlos Lee and Bobby Abreu have been the biggest names to change teams thus far. With literally hours left until the deadline, there may be a few more deals to be consummated. Any team that considers itself a contender for a postseason berth will seek to add a piece or two that they believe could be the difference-maker.
Unlike baseball's general managers, Wall Street traders only have to worry about the closing bell, which, coincidentally (or not), is also at 4 p.m. But even then, there are after-hours trading and overnight opportunities on international exchanges. But timing is definitely a factor if you want to be a contender on Wall Street. It's one thing to pick the right stock to trade; getting the timing right is another crucial element to success.
That said, my pick this week is
Maxim Integrated Products
, a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of linear and mixed-signal integrated circuits. (See more baseball talk further down in the column.)
Maxim will report earnings this Friday, and analysts are expecting earnings of 38 cents a share on revenue of $511.59 million, according to
. I expect a solid quarter from the company, whose stock has been hammered this year along with the broader chip sector's decline.
Maxim is now ridiculously oversold and at least 30% undervalued at Friday's closing price of $29.31. Maxim has a fair value at $43.50, according to ValueEngine, one of the tools I use to research stocks. According to Thomson/First Call, the stock is covered by 23 Wall Street analysts, with a median price target at $44.50. We could make a lot of money if the stock were to bounce just to the sell side's lowest price target of $34.50.
This leads me to our Maxim deep in-the-money call. The November $22.50 strike price will cost us $7.20 to $7.50, which represents a very small price to control 1,000 shares of a stock that should be closer to $40 than to $30. (By the way, the symbol for the November $22.50s is XIQKX.X. Usually the deep-in-the-money call symbol
resembles the stock symbol, but this November $22.50 call represents only one thing: opportunity! Believe it! )
Let's briefly discuss my strategy.
If we get filled on the November $22.50 calls at $7.20, we will control 1,000 shares of Maxim common stock all the way until Nov. 17 for an unbelievably low 39 cents of time premium. Nov. 17 is expiration day for these calls, and a day we don't see too often, if you know what I mean. It's all about the dinero, my friends -- the chips, the ammo. I am writing this for one reason: to make you money!
Bottom line: People can try and punch holes in my system, try and use "fuzzy math" or forget to compare apples with apples. It doesn't matter, because at the end of the day, the thousands of emails I receive from you awesome people is why I tee it up each week! (P.S., tune in later this week for a review of my picks of the past month.)
The Game of Life
With baseball's trading deadline looming, let's take a look at those teams that can reasonably be labeled contenders for a spot in the postseason. All of the Western Division clubs, in both leagues, are contenders for their respective divisional tiles. Additionally, all of the teams in the NL West are alive in the wild-card race; conversely, it appears highly unlikely that any of the AL West teams, other than the divisional winner, will qualify for the postseason.
It certainly appears as though the Mets are a foregone conclusion to win the NL East; hence, the remainder of the teams in the NL East are playing for wild-card spots. While they may not make the postseason this year, it is incredibly impressive what the Florida Marlins are accomplishing with essentially a lineup of rookies, albeit backed by a formidable pitching staff.
In the NL Central, the Cardinals continue to lead, but they cannot seem to shake free of the Reds, who presently lead the wild-card race. The Astros and Brewers remain in the hunt for the wild card. In the AL East, the perennial battle between the Red Sox and Yankees continues with the loser being a co-favorite for the wild-card spot. The Blue Jays are definite contenders for a wild-card berth as well.
In the AL Central, the Jim Leyland-led Tigers are distancing themselves from the defending champion White Sox. Nonetheless, along with the charging Twins, the White Sox can be considered co-favorites with the AL East runner-up for the AL wild-card spot.
On another note, the world of sports took another left hook to the liver with the report that a urine sample from Floyd Landis obtained after his miracle comeback in the Pyrenees revealed elevated levels of testosterone. The results of a split urine sample are pending.
Regardless of the outcome, the ongoing innuendo and associated taint are undermining how we view the accomplishments of our sports superstars. Seeds of doubt seemingly accompany any major athletic accomplishment these days. It is unfortunate and disconcerting that the validity and veracity of virtually any record these days is questioned.
Meanwhile, Bruce Sutter and 17 notable figures from the Negro Leagues were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., yesterday. Sutter, the godfather of the split-fingered fastball, accumulated 300 career saves, often of the two-inning variety (virtually unheard of today), establishing himself as one of the greatest relievers of all time. Sutter revolutionized the reliever's role with the development of the split-finger, which enabled him to save games by protecting a lead that was entrusted to him.
Similarly, the world of sports needs some revolutionaries to save sports by preserving the integrity of the games they have been blessed to play. Thus, Bruce Sutter is my deep-in-the-money call this week for his tremendous career accomplishments.
Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!
At the time of publication, Dykstra was long Maxim calls, although holdings can change at any time.
Nicknamed "Nails" for his tough style of play during his Major League Baseball career, Lenny Dykstra was an integral member of the powerful Mets of the mid-1980s, including the world champion 1986 squad, and the Phillies in the early 1990s.
Today, Dykstra manages his own stock portfolio and serves as president of several of his privately held companies, including car washes; a partnership with Castrol in "Team Dykstra" Quick Lube Centers; a state-of-the-art ConocoPhillips fueling facility; a real estate development company; and a new venture to develop several "I Sold It on eBay" stores throughout high-demographic areas of Southern California.