Make a Low-Cost Wager on This Casino Stock
The broader market’s powerful “V” recovery off its mid-October lows recouped all of last month’s losses and then some, with the S&P 500 hitting new all-time highs this week.
But not all sectors have kept pace, and it is in these underperforming areas where traders should look for rebound candidates that have the biggest upside potential left.
Casino stocks are well off their yearly highs, made in early 2014. Investors jumped shipped as Chinese gaming revenue slowed thanks to Beijing’s anti-corruption crackdown. But I think the China fears have been greatly exaggerated, and I’m willing to bet on the house at these depressed levels.
Specifically, I like the risk/reward on Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS). It trades with a current P/E ratio of 19, which is in line with the S&P 500 and below its peers. Plus, its 3.2% dividend yield should help put a floor under the shares.
On the charts, there was a bullish divergence early this month with a new price low under $58 but no new highs in volatility. This likely signals a bottom. In addition, the sideways action between $58 and $65 over the past two and a half months appears to be forming a base.
The $65 level is the two-year price pivot point. An upside breakout of this resistance would confirm the base and target a run to $75, which is roughly the midpoint recovery of this year’s sell-off.
The $75 target is about 20% higher than recent prices, but traders who use a capital-preserving, stock substitution strategy could more than double their money on a move to that level.
One major advantage of using a long call option rather than buying a stock outright is putting up much less capital to control 100 shares — that’s the power of leverage. But with all of the potential strike and expiration combinations, choosing an option can be a daunting task.
You want to buy a high-probability option that has enough time to be right, so there are two rules traders should follow:
Rule One: Choose a call option with a delta of 70 or above.
An option’s strike price is the level at which the options buyer has the right to purchase the underlying stock or ETF without any obligation to do so. (In reality, you rarely convert the option into shares, but rather simply sell back the option you bought to exit the trade for a gain or loss.)
It is important to buy options that pay off from a modest price move in the underlying stock or ETF rather than those that only make money on the infrequent price explosion. In-the-money options are more expensive, but they’re worth it, as your chances of success are mathematically superior to buying cheap, out-of-the-money options that rarely pay off.
The options Greek delta approximates the odds that an option will be in the money at expiration. It is a measurement of how well an option follows the movement in the underlying security. You can find an option’s delta using an options calculator, such as the one offered by the CBOE.
With LVS trading near $62.60 at the time of this writing, an in-the-money $55 strike call option currently has about $7.60 in real or intrinsic value. The remainder of the premium is the time value of the option. And this call option has a delta of about 76.
Rule Two: Buy more time until expiration than you may need — at least three to six months — for the trade to develop.
Time is an investor’s greatest asset when you have completely limited the exposure risks. Traders often do not buy enough time for the trade to achieve profitable results. Nothing is more frustrating than being right about a move only after the option has expired.
With these rules in mind, I recommend the LVS Jun 55 Call at $9.50 or less.
A close below $58 in LVS on a weekly basis or the loss of half of the options premium would trigger an exit. If you do not use a stop, the maximum loss is still limited to the $950 or less paid per option contract. The upside, on the other hand, is unlimited. And the June options give the bull trend seven months to develop.
This trade breaks even at $64.50 ($55 strike plus $9.50 options premium). That is less than $2 above LVS’ recent price. If shares hit the $75 target, then the call option would have $20 of intrinsic value and deliver a gain of more than 100%.
Recommended Trade Setup:
— Buy LVS Jun 55 Call at $9.50 or less
— Set stop-loss at $4.75
— Set initial price target at $20 for a potential 111% gain in seven months
Note: There’s another call option strategy that lets you earn $1,200 or more each month from the stocks you already own — by “renting” them out to other investors. To learn about this easy process, click here.