With the government and the Fed poised to help struggling liquidity markets, this week will be a key indicator of whether calm will be restored to the equity markets. With this uncertainty still in the air, now's the perfect time to return to one of my favorites, Amgen (AMGN) - Get Report.
For my longtime followers, Amgen scored the biggest deep in-the-money win to date, bringing in almost $20,000 in profit. (Check out my
My most recent brush with Amgen had me canceling my GTC buy order before buying the options because of my concerns about lackluster earnings. Sure enough, the company reported disappointing earnings and the stock got pounded. It also announced it will lay off up to 14% of its staff.
While on a personal level layoffs are a terrible beast, they do increase the value of a company's stock -- cutting costs and streamlining efficiency help the bottom line as much as rising revenue.
Further, the $49-$50 price level provides significant support, making this both a fundamentally and technically strong opportunity. (The stock was recently trading at $52.16.) With a vast research and development effort, in addition to over $1.5 billion in free cash flow, the company has the resources to enhance and continue its steady pipeline of products. This helps maintain Amgen's status as a leader in the field, as well as an excellent investment at such a low share price.
Right now Amgen trades with a premium slightly outside of the range we look for. We will need to be prudent and patient, allowing the price to come to us, rather than go chasing it. In this market, that is the way to invest -- buy stocks low and hold them for a short time and a quick gain.
I will buy 10 contracts of Amgen using a $40 strike (AMQDH). I will use a limit order and pay $12.00 or better going all the way out until April for these DITM calls. Be patient and let it come in, as this stock, though still undervalued, has already had a nice run the last couple of days.
Game of Life
With 20-something games remaining in the regular season, four of the six divisional races in baseball are virtually forgone conclusions. After being unceremoniously swept in a four game series by the Phillies, the Mets righted the ship by sweeping the Braves and taking two of three from the Reds.
In contradistinction, the Phillies, who had closed to within two games, lost two of three to the woeful Marlins, and two of three to the Braves, culminating with yesterday's implosion, whereupon they gave up seven runs in the ninth to snare defeat from the jaws of victory.
In the AL East, the Red Sox, buoyed by a no-hitter at Fenway by rookie Clay Buchholz, in his second career start, and bolstered by Josh Beckett's 17th victory of the year, have essentially relegated the Yankees to playing for the wild card.
The Bronx Bombers did take two out of three from the Mariners to create a little cushion in the wild card race. In the AL Central, the Indians, who have won 10 of their last 11 games, have given the Tigers a case of laryngitis -- their growl is barely audible. Although the Tigers have been muted significantly, their fall from contention pales in comparison to the Mariners, who seemingly have fallen off the Space Needle, losing 10 of their last 11 games.
Despite their respective tailspins, both the Tigers and Mariners are in the thick of the wild card race with the Yankees. With the Mariners' descent, the Angels, who continue to play outstanding baseball, have locked up the AL West barring a monumental collapse.
Meanwhile, the two divisional races still up for grabs, the NL Central and the NL West, feature six teams with an excellent chance of winning, and a seventh, the Colorado Rockies, with a good chance. The Cubs, Brewers and Cardinals are separated by merely two games in the NL Central, while the Padres and Diamondbacks are separated by one game in the NL West, with the Dodgers and Rockies well within striking distance.
The NFL season kicks off tonight with the defending Super Bowl champions, the Indianapolis Colts, facing the New Orleans Saints, who are considered strong contenders for the NFC championship, and a berth in the Super Bowl this year. A full slate of games follows on Sunday.
The USA restored some of its lost luster in basketball and track during the past week. The USA basketball team, featuring Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and conducted by consummate point guard, Jason Kidd, cruised to the gold medal, with an average margin of victory exceeding forty points, in the FIBA championship.
Their victory assured them of a spot in the Beijing Olympics in 2008. In the World Track and Field Championships, Tyson Gay doubled in the 100 meter and 200 meter sprints, thereby establishing himself as the favorite in Beijing.
In Boston, Phil Mickelson claimed the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second leg of the PGA Tour Playoffs, in arguably the most significant non-major victory in his career. Significant, because Phil was able to stare down Tiger, face to face, as they were paired in the final round, and not succumb to Tiger's ferocity. On the heels of his tremendous victory, Mickelson announced that he will not participate in the BMW Championship, which begins today in Chicago.
In Flushing Meadows, New York, the U.S. Open women's semifinals are set, with the men's to be determined today. If Justine Henin is to win her second Open, she will have to beat both Williams sisters. She dispatched Serena in the quarterfinals, and will meet Venus in the semis.
The anticipated showdown between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will not transpire, as Nadal lost in the quarterfinals to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. Federer dashed U.S. hopes by defeating Andy Roddick in his inimitable fashion to gain the semifinals late last night.
The Players Club recognizes the exhilaration that accompanies the anticipation of great rivals facing each other in major events, such as Phil and Tiger, and Federer and Nadal. Unfortunately, sometimes the contest does not materialize, or the event fails to validate the anticipation. By guaranteeing recurring cash flow, through our strategic partner, The Players Club endeavors to ensure that the result always lives up to the anticipation. Hopefully, in doing so, exhilaration is sustained and devastation is not in the equation.
Always Remember: Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride!
At the time of publication, Dykstra had no positions in stock mentioned.
Nicknamed 'Nails' for his tough style of play, Lenny is a former Major League Baseball player for the 1986 World Champions, New York Mets and the 1993 National League Champions, Philadelphia Phillies. A three time All-Star as a ballplayer, Lenny now serves as president for several privately held businesses in Southern California. He is the founder of The Players Club; it has been his desire to give back to the sport that gave him early successes in life by teaching athletes how to invest and protect their incomes. He currently manages his own portfolio and writes an investment strategy column for TheStreet.com, and is featured regularly on CNBC and other cable news shows. Lenny was selected as OverTime Magazine's 2006-2007 "Entrepreneur of the Year."