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Morning Update

One stock under performing the broad market this morning is Boeing. This has enticed one option trader to buy calls on the stock. The trade was the purchase of 294 August 85 calls for $5.25 with the stock at 87.00. This is a bullish bet that the stock will be above 90.25, or 3.7% higher, by August expiration.

Trades like this are a good example of how you can replace a long stock position with a call option. Investors who are uncomfortable with the market volatility this week can sell stock and buy 1 in the money call for every 100 shares sold. The result of this trade is a position that will profit if the stock continues to rally this summer, but will have limited losses should the market sell-off. The cost of this protection is that the stock must overcome the extrinsic value of the calls, also known as their time premium. In this case, a stock position bought at $87 would have a break even at $87, whereas the call position has a break even of $90.25, 3.5% higher.

However, a look at Boeing's fundamentals suggests that it may be a good stock to bet on this summer. Investors have been wary of the stock since mechanical problems caused the Dreamliner to be grounded. But soon US regulators are expected to end the grounding and allow the Dreamliner to return to service for the first time since January. Boeing’s customers know that that the early production run for a new product like the Dreamliner is likely to have glitches, and that these get sorted out in the first few months. That is the process Boeing is completing now, and it is unlikely to affect the future earnings power of the Dreamliner, which is expected to generate positive cash flow next year and continue to for years to come. Wells Fargo estimates that the Dreamliner will cause Boeing’s free cash flow to double next year to $12, or 14% of Boeing’s share price. This makes a dividend increase likely next year, and Boeing’s shares a good buy at current levels.

Buying a call now on Boeing will ensure that you do not miss a run-up in the stock over the summer, but does not subject you to all of the downside the shares could see if the market sells off hard, as it has this week.

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