5 Stocks Offering Dividend Plays

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In this article, I cover three dividend captures and two stocks that you will want to consider buying call options on instead of buying the stock.

Like most investing, there is no free lunch on Wall Street, but if you get there early they sometimes provide breakfast. Dividend capturing can be used to capture multiple dividends by retaining the stock and option longer than three months.

For sellers of option contracts, theta (time decay of option premium) is their greatest friend, and for buyers, the cruelest enemy. Options are a decaying asset, much like milk; using an option hedge while holding a stock can be profitable, even if the stock doesn't move higher. This is especially true in higher-yielding stocks, since higher-yield options have lower time premiums, all else being equivalent.

Also, the longer I retain a covered-call position (like two weeks with a front-month option, for example) the lower the time premium is worth (all else being equal).

A requirement I have is to be able to sell a call option in either the front or first back month that is in the money and with enough premium that I will not object to an early exercise notice (which does happen from time to time, but is profitable if everything is done according to plan).

My last step (completed before making a trade on the same day) is to check company announcements and news sources for possible price-moving events. This is especially critical during earnings season.

When learning a new trading strategy it is better to use a simulated trading account first. Stockpickr is a great tool to practice new strategies and learning about the market. I use stockpickr and recommend it. It is easy to make mistakes when starting out on a new strategy, and mistakes cost a lot less with a simulated account. After a level of confidence is built, then it may be time to move into a real money account.

Qualcomm (QCOM) QCOM Chart QCOM data by YCharts

Qualcomm develops and delivers innovative digital wireless communications products and services based on the company's CDMA digital technology. The company was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in San Diego, California. Qualcomm trades an average of 8.4 million shares per day with a marketcap of $5 million.

Yield: 1.6%

Dividend Amount: 25 cents

Ex-Dividend Date: Sept. 5

Beta: 1.00

Strategy: Buy Qualcomm stock and offer to sell the September $60 strike or lower call for 45 cents over the intrinsic value. I don't want the option hedge unless the sale will provide at least the minimum 45 cents over intrinsic value.

The option may get exercised early for a gain. In almost all cases, I sell the call option first to ensure the stock option leg is complete. If not, after qualifying for the dividend, I will look to close out the covered option with a gain of about 30 cents, plus dividend.

With a yield of 1.6%, as much or more of the gain should come from the option premium, otherwise it doesn't make sense to me to try to execute this trade.

If my shares are called away before trading ex-dividend (resulting from the option buyer wanting the dividend), I gain about 45 cents. The most I can make is 70 cents if I hold the covered call through option expiration day and the stock gets called away.

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