As the Dow Jones Industrial Average continues to reach for new highs despite persistent uncertainty in the U.S. economy, smart investors should look to companies that have provided dependable performance over a long period of time.
Feb. 14 column on
, I pointed out a
survey that acknowledges the company's dependable reputation, labeling GE the "World's Most Respected Company."
At that time, I discussed buying 10 deep-in-the-money (DITM) calls in GE, in particular the September 30s (GEIF), at $6.30 or better. Today I would like to revisit that selection and place a limit order to buy 10 DITM calls at $5.50 or better. This will bring my average price to $5.90 for 20 DITM calls, and it gives me control of 2,000 shares of GE for only 45 cents to 50 cents in premium.
Upon averaging down, I will adjust my GTC sell price to $6.90 in order to lock in a $2,000 win when it becomes available. GE, which closed at $34.80 on Monday, is a great play for a market that is a little scary, and this second purchase gives me control of $69,600 worth of GE stock for $11,800.
Despite reporting strong earnings, the stock has not shared in the Dow's recent surge. For the first quarter, GE reported better-than-expected earnings, driven by strong foreign demand for infrastructure products. Earnings for the quarter came in 5.7% over a year earlier, and strong foreign demand helped GE Infrastructure increase its profitability by 28% on the quarter.
CEO Jeff Immelt said the infrastructure business is "in the very early phase of... a long-term secular time period where we have high visibility, broad technologies, great global positioning, increasing margins and backlog on equipment and long-term service agreements that can span over the next 10 or 15 years." This bodes well for future earnings at GE and should boost shareholder value.
Because of the uncertainty in the stock market, I strongly believe that investors need to seek companies with diversified businesses and a strong international presence. The growth in GE Infrastructure coming from abroad indicates that GE is in an excellent position to succeed, regardless of whether domestic GDP growth continues.
Game of Life
Gambling. We've all been at that poker table going all in, hoping for that flush draw. Passing by the slot machines, we slip in a dollar, thinking, "What do we have to lose?" Why not sit down for a hand of blackjack?
One hand turns into 10 as we let the money burn a hole in our pockets. Now, with the growth of online gambling, we can lose the dough in the comfort of our own homes. How convenient!
For a store clerk in Conova, N.C., luck serendipitously arrived when she accidentally printed out two of the same lottery ticket for a customer. For the rest of the day, Wadburn Allen, the store clerk, attempted to sell the ticket, but people didn't want to waste a dollar on a lottery ticket that they didn't even choose! At the end of the day with the ticket still laying on the store countertop, Allen purchased the ticket and went home, just like any other evening.
When arriving at work the next morning, she realized that the accidental ticket she had printed and then purchased was worth more than a wasted dollar -- all five numbers matched the Powerball numbers. Those five numbers later translated to five big fat zeroes, granting Allen a $200,000 prize. The buyer of the original ticket also received $200,000. So she got a little lucky? I'd say so!
We all wait for that day when luck will strike us and we will open our doors to a knock to find a camera in our faces and a check the size of a car blinding us. Sometimes in our lives, we attribute success to strategy, and to a certain degree a refined strategy can help in our journeys. Most of the time, however, life is not as clearly defined. Suddenly, two cards on the river can change our chances. We try to keep the poker face and show no emotion.
But despite our deepest efforts to persevere, we sometimes let down. We go home a little less rich than when we arrived, and hopefully, the sunrise will deal a new hand of cards for us to play in this poker game of life. Other times, this is not the case, and the loss dwells over our heads. As with the stock market, it's safer to play the conservative strategy. Don't rely on luck to live your life!
The Player's Club understands that life is often a gamble. Through our strategic partner, we guarantee recurring cash flow to professional athletes, thereby putting their financial futures "in the bank."
Every day, as human beings, we gamble. In a matter of seconds, an injury can end a professional athlete's career. In any game, it's essential to have a strong defense to back us up when the whims of life get to be too much. Don't let life control you! With the help of the Player's Club, your life is in your control.
Always remember: Life is a journey; enjoy the ride!
At the time of publication, Dykstra was long GE.
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.