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Covered Call and Blanket Put on Walgreen (WAG)

Walgreen covered call and protective put

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Covered Call and Blanket Put on Walgreens (WAG).

STRATEGY: Look at the November 34 covered call. For each 100 shares of Walgreen Co. (WAG) stock you buy, sell one November 2011 34 covered call option for a 32.15 (33.30 – 1.35) debit or better. That’s potentially a 5.75% assigned return. This stock also pays a dividend which may add another 0.7% to the return. The stocks next ex-dividend date is projected to be 11/17/2011.

The technicals for WAG are bullish with a weak downward trend. The stock is under accumulation with support at 34.55. S&P rates this stock 4 STARS (out of five) – buy.

RISK: To protect you capital, you should look at buying the Apr 2012 33 Put at 3.50. This will limit your downsize to the put strike price of 33. And you can continue to sell calls each month for premium as long as the trade is still working. The initial trade risk is $2.45 (see chart) but this will decrease for each additional call sold in the months following November expiration.  When you exit the covered call you will sell the Apr 2012 33 Put at market value to recoup some of your protective put cost.

S&P research notes: S&P reiterates buy recommendation on shares of Walgreen Co. (WAG). WAG reports Aug-Q operating EPS of $0.57, vs. $0.49, in line with our estimate and $0.02 above consensus from Capital IQ. We believe the shares may experience near-term pressure due to tense contract negotiations with Express Scripts (ESRX) . However, we think an agreement will be reached before expiration or shortly after expiration of the current contract. Due to greater than expected non-pharmacy margin pressures as consumers trade down, we are reducing our FY 12 (Aug.) EPS projection $0.06 to $3.04, and our 12-month target price by $7 to $40, on comparative analysis.

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