Older subscribers and other literary types may well remember John Irving's classic book "The World According to Garp" from 1978. Garp was Irving's hero and main character. In today's investment world, GARP has a different meaning:

Growth At a Reasonable Price

I can think of no better example of this type of stock than Wal-Mart ( WMT). A decade ago WMT was a glamour issue and priced at 30x-40x earnings with a scrawny yield of about 0.4%. The share price actually peaked at $70.30 in late 1999 on FY earnings of $1.28 per share and a 55 multiple.

Since 1999 EPS have more than tripled to an estimated $4.05 for the FY ending this month. Its annual dividend rate has surged from $0.19 to $1.21. Revenues, cash flow and book value have shown similar gains.
Wal-Mart (WMT) EPS
Source: Value Line

 

Despite the company's stellar performance, WMT shares have drifted sideways for the past eleven years and closed yesterday at $53.73. That puts its P/E at about 13.3x trailing earnings and less than 12.1x year-ahead estimates. Its well-covered current yield is an attractive 2.25%. This is the best valuation ever offered to WMT buyers. You'd think that would have analysts salivating. Instead Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock from buy to hold on Monday while setting a $60.00 price target.

While WMT may never again command its old high P/Es, Value Line assumes a 15 multiple in calculating its three to five-year expected price range. Standard & Poor's rates WMT with its highest five-star ranking and carries a 12-month goal of $63.00. Morningstar sees present day 'fair value' as $60.00. What's not to like here? Even if these shares simply rebound to $60.00 over the next year, you'll pocket an 11.66% rise on top of the 2.25% yield for a 13.9% total return.

This is OptionsProfits so let's make things even better...

If WMT closes at $60.00, or higher, on January 19, 2013:

¿ The call will be exercised and the put will expire worthless

¿ You will likely have collected at least $242 in dividends

¿ You'll be left with no shares and $6,242 in cash

Any move up of 11.7% or more over the next 24 months will translate to a net profit of $2,179/$4,063 = 53.6% cash-on-cash, or about 26% annualized. Considering the very-low risk, this looks like a great trade to lock in nice returns for a substantial period of time.

Breakeven on the whole trade is $50.32 per share (excluding dividends), or 6.3% below our trade inception price.

Trades: Buy 100 WMT for $53.73 per share, sell to open 1 WMT January 2013 60 call at $2.90 and sell to open 1 WMT January 2013 60 put at $10.20.

At the time of publication, Paul Price was short WMT puts.

Dr. Price joined Merrill Lynch in 1987 and over the next 13 years worked with A.G. Edwards, Wheat First and Ferris, Baker Watts. Dr. Price enjoyed enough success to retire in October 2000, but he continues to write and give investment seminars.

OptionsProfits For actionable options trade ideas from a team of experts, visit TheStreet's OptionsProfits now.
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