Before I dissect another opportunity over at Dow Chemical (found further down in this column), a quick update on the busy world of sports.Four of the six divisional races are virtual ties at the top at this point, with the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, White Sox, Cardinals, Reds, Diamondbacks and Dodgers batting for the top billing in their respective divisions. Elsewhere, the Rangers have a small lead over the A's in the AL West, while the Mets are cruising relatively comfortably in first place in the NL East, after sweeping the Diamondbacks in Arizona this weekend. Elsewhere, there's the Stanley Cup finals, in which the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers have surely given new meaning to "small-cup funds." The NBA finals present an interesting matchup between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. Pat Riley, now the president, general manager and coach of the Heat, is seeking his fifth NBA title against Mark Cuban, who defines his team's nickname with his brash, no-holds-barred style. (Recall that Cuban made a little dent on Wall Street when he sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo! in 1999.) The College Baseball World Series represents sports in its purest form. Golf, the sport we retire to, will stage the U.S. Open this weekend at famed Winged Foot, and tennis crowned the French Open champion yesterday on the famous red clay of Roland Garros Stadium in Paris. Rafael Nadal, the young Spaniard, won his 60th consecutive match on clay to capture his second consecutive French Open over Roger Federer, the indisputable No. 1 tennis player in the world. Thus, despite his unequaled greatness, Federer remains aligned with Pete Sampras and others as great players who were unable to win the French Open. Quite frankly, the aforementioned events, while important to many, are arguably provincial in comparison with soccer's World Cup, which is taking place in Germany. Virtually anywhere beyond the U.S., this quadrennial competition for world "futbol" supremacy (soccer is a U.S. term) is the ultimate sporting event. Countries live and die with the performance of their teams. Tickets are virtually impossible to obtain, and people men arrange their schedules so they may gather to watch their beloved fellow countrymen compete. Stars are truly international, with singular names known throughout the world in every dialect. Despite the burgeoning soccer boom among American youth, we are still rookies on the world futbol scene. Knowledge about global markets plays a substantial role in successful investing. Although we may not be completely comfortable with the concept, it must be acknowledged that futbol is part of the international language, understood by the global markets. Undeniably, speaking as well as comprehending this language is a worthwhile endeavor. Now let's get to today's free kick. I have mentioned Dow Chemical ( DOW) frequently in past columns about my deep-in-the-money-calls strategy. In fact, I have mentioned Dow in 11 of my past columns. But in my opinion, right now is the best risk/reward opportunity I have seen with this stock. Last Wednesday, June 7, a Deutsche Bank analyst downgraded just about all of the chemical makers, and that is why we have an opportunity to buy Dow at a price that we haven't seen in about two years. The stock's December $30 calls are at around $8.80, and that price, or better, is a great entry point using a limit order. Now let's do the math on these December $30s for $8.80. If you buy 10 contracts now, they don't expire until the third Friday in December, and you are in control of 1,000 shares of one of the premier companies in the world for $8,800 as opposed to the $38,230 it would cost to buy the equivalent amount of stock. That would normally be too expensive for many people to buy outright, unless we went on margin. Ask your investment buddies who use margin how the last couple of weeks have been. Anyone who has had a margin call knows exactly what I am talking about; a margin call is your worst nightmare, trust me. It's kind of like golf when you get the shanks. You just want it to end. Eventually it does, but for a lot of people, so does their stock trading career. When it comes to money, you don't get a "mulligan" -- you get your lights put out. Now back to this week's trade. Do you all remember how we get to "the premium"? Meaning, what we pay for this awesome advantage of using very little cash to control 1,000 shares of stock. If you buy 10 contracts, that would cost you $8,800, which would give you the right to control 1,000 shares of Dow Chemical stock at the price of $38.80. The stock closed last Friday at $38.23, or $38,230. So if we take the real-time price of the stock and subtract it from the strike price plus the cost of the deep in-the-money call, with this particular deep-in-the-money call we are paying only 57 cents a share to control 1,000 shares of Dow Chemical for about seven months. There is only one thing left to do for me: Lock and load. Remember: Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!
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