Dykstra: Good Eye for Calls and Strikes

Before we get to this week's deep-in-the-money call option discussion, let's take a brief look at what's happening in sports. The divisional races in baseball remain extremely tight with the exception of the National League East, where the Mets are threatening to lap the field. The Phillies are falling from contention; the Braves have descended into oblivion.

In hockey, the Carolina Hurricanes, led by rookie goaltender Cam Ward, conquered the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. This allowed several veterans on the Hurricanes to hoist the Stanley Cup after waiting more than a decade to do so.

In basketball, the Miami Heat, led by Dwayne Wade, the latest heir apparent to Michael Jordan, beat the Dallas Mavericks by winning four straight games after losing the first two, to claim their first NBA championship. For Pat Riley and Shaquille O'Neal, this represents more hardware for their trophy cases. For the Heat's Alonzo Mourning, it's the culmination of a journey, which included a kidney transplant along the way.

Italy, England, Argentina, Germany and Portugal have moved on to the quarterfinals of the World Cup. The remainder of the quarterfinal participants will be decided today and tomorrow. Alas, the U.S. can converse in the international language of futbol, but it apparently has not mastered the street lingo necessary to win at this level.

The last noteworthy item this week was the relatively quiet announcement, on the eve of Wimbledon, that Andre Agassi will be retiring from competitive tennis after the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows. Agassi's career has spanned two decades, with each respective decade representative of a different Andre.

The first decade gave us a brash 16-year-old from Las Vegas, who exploded onto the scene with his "image is everything" persona. That included his long, flowing locks and nontraditional outfits that turned the traditionally conservative tennis establishment upside down. The second decade saw an Andre who rededicated himself with a herculean workout regimen and reinvented his image with a shaved head, a respect for the game, and a comfort level that comes with maturity.

A terrific base-liner, and arguably possessor of the best return of serve in the history of tennis, Agassi is one of only five men in the sport's history to win each of the four Grand Slam tournaments. He has won 60 career single titles, including eight Grand Slams. With more than $31 million in career earnings, Agassi has earned his deep-in-the-money call.

But Agassi's two decades in tennis, which equate to an eternity in that sport, pales in comparison with my deep in-the-money call this week, Newell Rubbermaid ( NWL), which has been around for more than a century.

Newell Rubbermaid's common stock closed Friday at $26.14. While the market continues to put the V in volatile, I will continue to buy more time to protect our investment, without paying a heavy premium. The pick this week is the December $20.00 (NWL.LD) deep in-the-money call. We will pay $6.50, using a limit order, and our premium will come in at only 36 cents.

Here is how we get to the premium, which simply means the cost for us to buy the right to control 1,000 shares of NWL common stock until the third Friday in December. The math is relatively simple. NWL was recently trading at $26.04, and our December 20, deep in-the-money calls cost us $6.30. This is really $26.30 when we add the cost of the call to the strike price. We now take the cost of the common stock -- $26.04 -- and subtract that from $26.30. And we end up with 26 cents.

This is what we call an "edge," something you need to get real familiar with if you want to play and win in this league. Therefore, instead of us taking $26,140 out of our bank account to buy 1,000 shares of NWL common, we are going to take only $6,500 out of our bank account to control 1,000 shares, with no expiration day in sight until we move into the middle of December.

If you follow my strategy and continue to place a good till cancel (GTC) order in -- 1 point above our in-the-money call price -- you might not be seeing December! This could be money in the bank if you stick with our game plan and book your profits. It's something we are getting very close to doing with last week's pick, General Dynamics ( GD). We bought this play at $11.50, the deep in-the-money call closed Friday at $12.10.

Now, let me briefly talk about one of the great American success stories -- Newell Rubbermaid. Established in 1903, the company fcuses on building significant consumer and commercial brands. The company has a cast-iron balance sheet, with a forward price/earnings ratio of 14.60, a return on equity that comes in at 19.07%, and $625.49 million of real free cash flow.

Besides the great history and tradition at Newell Rubbermaid, the real reason I turned bullish on the stock is new CEO Mark Ketchum. After spending 33 years at Procter & Gamble, Ketchum joined Newell Rubbermaid in February. Coming from P&G, he's been taught by the best.

Remember: Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!

At the time of publication, Dykstra was long General Dynamics, Newell Rubbermaid and Procter & Gamble calls.

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.

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