The stock market will try to regain some of the ferocious losses from last Friday. There are some great buys right now -- quite frankly, I am stunned by the amount of quality companies that are on sale.
Several hedge funds were hurt by the poor performance of value-oriented strategies beginning in late June, when concerns regarding a credit crunch escalated. Facing deteriorating investment results, rising costs for margin debt and redemption requests from investors, some hedge funds reduced the size of their long and short positions in August.
To accomplish this, funds need to buy "bad" stocks to cover short positions and sell "good" stocks. This liquidation can feed on itself, especially when giant funds are crowded into the same names. For the individual investor, panic selling or panic buying from huge funds can open opportunities.
These opportunities tend to come at times of high anxiety, however, and Wall Street is littered with the remains of brave souls who were too eager to fight the trend. Still, the volatility in the returns of quant strategies serves as a reminder that any trade can become too crowded.
, is so cheap it's scary. This ranks up there with one of the all-time safest trades since I have been writing a column for
. Back in July, I made a deep-in-the-money call trade in JPMorgan and scored a win within three days.
The financial services giant is the definition of financial strength, with assets of $1.4 trillion and operations in more than 50 countries. Since the acquisition of Bank One, JPMorgan has become a truly diversified financial conglomerate, with increased market strength and excellent earnings growth. The company has continued to expand around the globe, and it boasts the single most dynamic CEO in the business, Jamie Dimon.
It is JPMorgan's goal to have each of its divisions be among the best performers -- if not the best -- in the business. This competitive drive is evident across all its business lines, as it competes with
and other top-tier rivals. In retail banking, comparisons can be made with
Bank of America
. The same goes for JPMorgan's other divisions.
The company reported net income for the first half of 2007 that was 39% higher than the prior-year period, with investment banking profit up by 61% in the first half from the prior-year period. Yet the stock is currently selling at $43.52 and very close to its 52-week low. What a joke. If the operators on Wall Street want to give their money away, let's take it!
I will place a limit order to buy 10 March 35 calls (JPMCG) at $9.50, or better. Be patient, and let it come in.
Game of Life
As we enter the last three weeks of the regular season in baseball, it appears rather certain that the Angels, Red Sox and Indians will claim divisional championships in the American League.
The Yankees, fueled by A-Rod's outstanding season, have the upper hand in the AL wild-card race, with a four-game lead over the Tigers and a five-game lead over the Mariners, both of whom are struggling.
In the National League, the Mets appear to have locked up the NL East, although they do have a head-to-head series with the Phillies, their closest pursuers, remaining. The NL Central remains the most intriguing race in baseball, with the young Brewers enjoying a tenuous one-game lead over the Cubs and staying three games ahead of the Cardinals.
In the NL West, the surprising Diamondbacks are on top, holding a three-game lead over the Padres, with the Dodgers and Rockies still very much alive for a wild-card berth. The Padres now lead the chase for the wild card by two games over the Phillies.
The NFL season kicked off on Thursday night with the defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts routing the New Orleans Saints, thereby serving notice that they are not resting on their laurels.
The Colts' defense was markedly improved from last year, and Peyton Manning was his usual brilliant self. In another game with Super Bowl aspirants, the San Diego Chargers, riding the talent of LaDainian Tomlinson, who ran for a touchdown, and threw for another, defeated last year's Super Bowl losers, the Chicago Bears.
The Patriots, picked by many to be this year's Super Bowl favorites, dismantled the New York Jets as Randy Moss, a key off-season acquisition, had an auspicious debut with nine catches for 183 yards and one touchdown.
In college football, Notre Dame and Michigan, who meet this week, have both started 0-2, for the first time in history. The nation's longest winning streak, 14 games, ended when Boise State, last year's Cinderellas, were defeated by the University of Washington.
In the other brand of futbol, the U.S. women are favored to win the World Cup in soccer, which takes place in China over the next three weeks. Although Kristine Lilly is the only remaining member of the previous two World Cup champions, the U.S. team, albeit young, is thought to be better than its predecessors.
Many of us are most likely oblivious to the fact that we have the privilege of witnessing two of the most dominant athletes in history, competing in different sports, who may well be competing against one another in a different universe.
Tiger Woods claimed his sixth victory this year, and the 60th of his career, by capturing the BMW Championship at Cog Hill, outside of Chicago, shooting a final-round 63, to finish at 22 under par for the tournament. Furthermore, this was Tiger's fourth victory at Cog Hill. The victory catapulted Tiger to the top of the FedEx Cup Playoff standings going into this week's finale at East Lake, in Atlanta. The eventual overall winner will claim a deferred payment of $10 million.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer, playing in his 10th consecutive Gran Slam final, claimed his fourth consecutive U.S. Open title with a straight-set victory over Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows, N.Y. With the victory, Federer tied Roy Emerson for second place in career Grand Slam titles, with 12. At his present, incredible pace, Federer is likely to surpass Pete Sampras' career record of 14 Grand Slam titles next year.
Despite the apples-to-oranges comparison, the sustained incandescent brilliance of these two remarkable athletes in their respective sports forces us to compare the magnitude of their nearly incomprehensible achievements. Regardless of which one is thought to be superior, we should all cherish the opportunity to witness an ongoing level of dominance and excellence, in parallel, as this will most likely not be repeated in our lifetime.
The Players Club recognizes and appreciates the unique nature of the accomplishments of Woods and Federer. By guaranteeing recurring cash flow, through our strategic partner, we endeavor to allow athletes to not only enjoy but continue to benefit from their respective accomplishments as well.
Always remember: Life is a journey; enjoy the ride!
At the time of publication, Dykstra had no positions in stocks 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."