Looking back to 90 days ago, StoneMor Partners LP (STON) priced a 2,600,000 share secondary stock offering at $23.67 per share. Buyers in that offering made a considerable investment into the company, expecting that their investment would go up over the course of time and based on early trading on Wednesday, the stock is now 6.1% above the offering price. It should be noted that investors at the secondary have collected $0.61/share in dividends since the time of their purchase, so they are currently up 8.7% on their purchase from a total return basis.Investors who did not participate in the offering but would be a buyer of STON at a cheaper price, might benefit from considering selling puts among the alternative strategies at their disposal. One interesting put contract in particular, is the January 2015 put at the $22.50 strike, which has a bid at the time of this writing of 30 cents. That would result in a cost basis of $22.20 per share before broker commissions in the scenario where the contract is exercised. If the contract is never exercised, the put seller would still keep the premium, which represents a 1.3% return against the $22.50 purchase commitment, or a 3.4% annualized rate of return (at Stock Options Channel we call this the YieldBoost). Secondaries can often present buying opportunities for bullish investors interested in purchasing shares, because the sudden extra supply of stock tends to require that the offering be priced at an attractive discount to where the stock had previously been trading before the offering announcement. That can also introduce near-term volatility which improves the premiums a put seller can achieve. Selling a put does not give an investor access to STON's upside potential the way owning shares would, because the put seller only ends up owning shares in the scenario where the contract is exercised. The chart below shows the one year performance of STON shares, versus its 200 day moving average:
Looking at the chart above, STON's low point in its 52 week range is $21.75 per share, with $26.69 as the 52 week high point — that compares with a last trade of $25.20. The current annualized dividend paid by StoneMor Partners LP is $2.44/share, currently paid in quarterly installments, and its most recent dividend ex-date was on 08/01/2014. Below is a long-term dividend history chart for STON, which can be of good help in judging whether the most recent dividend with approx. 9.6% annualized yield is likely to continue. According to the ETF Finder at ETF Channel, STON makes up 2.27% of the SuperDividend U.S. ETF ( DIV) which is trading up by about 0.2% on the day Wednesday.