Microsoft jumped $1.02 to $30.12 Friday and was the top
performer after reporting strong sales of its new Windows Vista operating system and Office 2007 software suite Thursday. Meanwhile, General Electric rose $1 to $36.84 after a Citigroup analyst said the conglomerate could boost its shares by selling its entertainment, real estate and financial businesses.
Also last week, investors seem confused by the release of first-quarter economic data, which revealed slowing economic growth. The economy's growth was below economists' expectations and down sharply from 2.5% in the previous quarter, and the market faces a potentially difficult week ahead.
As always, it's important to seek out investments that perform best in present market conditions. It's not often that I buy deep-in-the-money (DITM) calls on a stock that is within a couple points of its 52-week high, but today I will, because
is a firmly established company that boasts solid growth, and it offers investors the best of both worlds: rapid appreciation in a bullish market, stability in a shaky one.
In Cingular, AT&T owns the cellular telephone company with the most customers in the U.S. The wireless unit operates with a nearly 40% profit margin, and the company has an exclusive arrangement with
for its iPhone. So when that gadget comes to market in June, it should provide a significant boost to the company's revenue. The exclusive arrangement with Apple gives AT&T a unique opportunity to draw users away from other service providers, such as competitor
On the whole, AT&T possesses a staggering $10.37 billion in
free cash flow. With that kind of cash, the company can make the investments and acquisitions it needs to remain on the cutting edge. The acquisition of BellSouth is complete, and first-quarter revenue rose 84% over the year before. With the iPhone on its way and continued expansion in many areas of communications throughout the world, AT&T will continue to thrive.
After its close of $38.64 on Friday, now is the right time to buy DITM calls in AT&T. I will place a
limit order to buy 10 of the October $32.50 (TJZ)
calls for $6.90, or better, to control 1,000 shares, paying only 74 cents in premium.
Game of Life
On June 24, the inaugural season of the Israel Baseball League will commence, with six teams competing. Ordinarily, this relatively obscure factoid may receive little if any press. However, former Met Art Shamsky, manager of the Modi'in Miracle, ensured a mention for the new league by selecting former Dodger and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax with the last pick in the draft, held to stock the teams with players.
Lest you think the 71-year old Koufax was merely a ceremonial pick, rumor has it that his fastball was clocked at 88 MPH a few years ago. Furthermore, manager Shamsky stated, "It's been 41 years between starts for him. If he's rested and ready to take the mound again, we want him on our team."
Undeniably, Koufax's eye-popping career numbers -- a won-loss record of 165-87, 2,396 strikeouts, 2.76 ERA and four no-hitters, one of which was a perfect game -- speak for themselves. Moreover, as far as going out on top, in his last four years, Koufax had a 97-27 won-loss record, 1,228 Ks and an average ERA of 1.85. Despite these phenomenal numbers, Koufax is as perhaps well-known for a day that he did not pitch: game one of the 1965 World Series against the Twins.
Rather than pitch, Koufax insisted on observing Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in the Jewish religion. Certainly, that statement, along with his Hall of Fame career, will solidify Koufax's presence in the Israel Baseball League, regardless of whether he ever pitches again.
Shifting to the players of today, Sammy Sosa hit two homers in Jacobs Field in Cleveland on April 26, thereby establishing the record of 44 for home runs in more parks than anyone in history, surpassing Ken Griffey Jr. and Fred McGriff, who have hit homers in 43 parks. Sammy is also rapidly approaching 600 homers for his career. Meanwhile, there is controversy in Beantown questioning the authenticity of the blood on the Boston sock worn by Curt Schilling in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series in 2004.
Apparently, Gary Thorne, an announcer for the Orioles, thought he overheard Doug Mirabelli, a catcher for the Red Sox, state that the blood was actually red paint, orchestrated as part of a publicity stunt. Mirabelli has vehemently denied any such statement, and Thorne has seemingly acknowledged his misinterpretation of what he thought he heard. David Caruso and Gary Sinise, with their CSI crews in tow, are available, in the event that the authenticity of the blood is truly in question.
Another record was set this weekend in Radio City Music Hall in New York. The marathon that is the NFL draft established a record for the longest first round in history, 6 hours and 8 minutes. As many expected, JaMarcus Russell, a 6-foot 5-½-inch, 256-pound quarterback from LSU, was picked first by the Oakland Raiders.
The story of the first day, however, was Brady Quinn, a quarterback from the University of Football, I mean Notre Dame, slipping to the 22nd pick in the draft. Most expected Quinn to be picked in the top three or at worst at No. 9 by the Miami Dolphins.
To his tremendous credit, the Notre Dame signal caller, forever under the microscope, handled himself with poise and humility throughout what has to have been a torturous day for him. As ESPN chronicled his every move and reaction, Quinn answered question after question honestly and articulately. When he was finally chosen by the Cleveland Browns, who bypassed him at No. 3, only to trade up to get him at number 22, Quinn seemingly fulfilled a childhood dream as ESPN flashed a picture of him bedecked in a Browns uniform at the age of four.
As he finally strode out onto the stage, Brady Quinn received a standing ovation from a sympathetic crowd, which was obviously cognizant of his plight. If Brady's on-field performance approaches his performance on Saturday, this young man is truly a star in the making.
The Players Club recognizes the peaks and valleys that characterize the careers of athletes. By providing guaranteed recurring cash flow through our strategic partner, The Players Club endeavors to provide a smooth transition to the future for our players and their families.
Always remember: Life is a journey; enjoy the ride!
At the time of publication, Dykstra was long T.
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.