Certainly, the vast majority of you who frequent TheStreet.com are familiar with stocks and bonds. Lately, the focus has been on Bonds, as in Barry.Even those who have little or no interest in sports cannot escape the media circus surrounding Bonds' pursuit of Babe Ruth. Bonds arrived in Philadelphia this past weekend with 712 career home runs, poised to surpass the 714 of the immortal Ruth. He departed Philadelphia one step closer in his pursuit of the Bambino. Barring a season-ending injury, Bonds will soon surpass Ruth and stand alone in second place on the career homer list, behind Hammerin' Hank Aaron's 755. Whether or not Bonds hangs around long enough to overtake Aaron is a matter of conjecture at this point. Regardless, surpassing Ruth is a major milestone in baseball history. How it is perceived and received remains to be seen. As the weather and baseball heat up, it will be extremely interesting to see the short-, intermediate- and long-term yields on the Barry Bonds. Speaking of heating up, let me introduce you to Aqua America ( WTR - Get Report). It is not only the largest publicly traded water company based in the U.S., it is positioned to capitalize on the higher customer-demand period that started in May and should continue through September. In Aqua America we have exactly what we are looking for each week: low risk and high reward. The stock closed Friday at $23.23. The in-the-money call that really sets up nicely for us is the September $20 (strike price), which settled at $3.80 Friday. This represents only 57 cents in premium. Meaning, for us to control 1,000 shares of Aqua America common stock all the way until the third Friday in September (remember, all options expire on the third Friday of every month), our cost should be about $3,800.
I want to remind you how I come up with the "premium," or the right to only pay only $3,800 to control 1,000 shares, vs. paying $23,230 to control 1,000 shares. First, we take our strike price, which is $20. Then, we take the cost of the in-the-money call, which buys us the right to own Aqua America at $20, on Sept. 15, 2006, which is the third Friday in September. The $20 strike price should cost us about $3,800. We add those two together, and we come up with $23,800. We then take the $23,800 against the real cost of 1,000 shares of the common stock, $23,230 (the closing price on Friday), and we end up with 57 cents in premium. The bottom line? Instead of us taking $23,230 out of our account to own, or control, 1,000 shares of Aqua America, we are going to accept the fact that "the operators on Wall Street" are going to charge us 57 cents (in premium) for getting the opportunity to control a rock-solid company for almost five months by buying the September $20 (strike price) in-the-money call. Remember, make sure you use a "limit order" when buying your in-the-money call, as I have done Monday morning (at $3.80). Also, for those of you who are happy with a $1,000 gain, don't forget to put in your good-till-canceled (GTC) standing order to sell your in-the-money call for $4,800, or a point higher than where you purchased your in-the-money call. (Everyone is different; you can set your GTC higher or lower. I use $1,000 because that's a nice win!) Meanwhile, Headwaters ( HW), the company I featured in my
April 25 column, posted a blowout number this morning. With the stock up sharply in pre-open trading, we should get an opportunity to book profits on the August $25 calls I wrote about. All I can say is, lock and load!