Customer Service 1 (888) 261-2693
Please enter Search keyword. Advanced Search

How to Make a 59% Dividend

By Tom Dyson, publisher, The Palm Beach Letter
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Gulf of Mexico oil leak is a disaster for the environment, a disaster for the local economy, and may even prove to be a disaster for the stock market if the government decides to punish the offshore drilling industry.
But it could be the best thing that happens to your portfolio this year...
Today, I'm going to show you how to use the Gulf oil disaster to generate a 59% dividend. This is a unique trading opportunity using "stink bids." It's a little bit unusual, but it's worth taking the time to understand.
British Petroleum is the fourth-largest company in the world behind Wal-Mart, Exxon, and Royal Dutch Shell. It operates in 30 countries, generates $240 billion in annual revenues, and owns 22,400 gas stations.
The massive underwater oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is the worst environmental disaster in America's history. And British Petroleum is the company responsible.
Right now, thousands of lawyers in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Washington DC are rolling up their sleeves and preparing to sue BP for every cent they can get their hands on. This is shaping up to be one of the biggest corporate legal actions since asbestos and tobacco.
The stock market hates uncertainty. In this case, BP investors have no idea how much money BP might have to pay to clean up the mess. It's simply impossible to predict. (I've seen estimates for the total long-term liability ranging from $2 billion to $37 billion.) This uncertainty has caused a massive drop in BP's share price.
I downloaded BP's most recent annual report and did a quick diagnosis of BP's finances...
BP generates $30 billion a year in profit from operations. It reinvests $20 billion a year in its business and pays $10 billion a year in dividends to shareholders.
On top of BP's colossal ability to make money, it has a fortress balance sheet. BP has equity on the balance sheet of $104 billion, but only $24 billion in debt. With this low debt ratio, it has room to add at least double its debt load. BP also has $8 billion in spare cash to cover immediate expenses relating to the oil slick.
BP generates billions of profits each year on top of an awesome pile of accumulated wealth. In short, even if the oil spill ends up costing BP $37 billion, it won't have trouble paying the bill.
That said, even though BP is a rock-solid company and can easily afford its legal bills, I don't recommend you buy BP's stock at today's prices. Investors are in panic mode and you simply can't predict how much lower BP's share price will fall.
Instead, you should enter a "stink bid" on BP. When you make a stink bid, you're offering to buy a stock for way less than current prices. In return for making this offer, the market will pay you cash, upfront.
Let's say you set your stink bid at $33 a share – more than 10% below today's price – the market will pay you $2 for every share of BP you agree to buy. Your agreement only lasts through mid-July. So your $2 amounts to a 6% profit in five and a half weeks... or a 59% annual dividend. You collect this cash payment whether or not your stink bid gets hit.
If the market hits your stink bid, you'll own BP at a great price... Despite its legal troubles, BP is one of the largest, most profitable oil companies in the world.
So how do you place a stink bid? You do it through the options market, by selling a put option. Someone who sells a put is agreeing to buy a stock at a particular price. Selling "out of the money" puts is how you make a "stink bid." You get cash upfront for selling a put. And you agree to buy the underlying stock at a price way below where it's selling today.
In the example above, you'd sell the July $33 put and collect about $2 per put option you sold.
If you're new to options, this may sound confusing. But when investors panic, like they have with BP, it can be the safest income strategy in the world. It's worth doing some homework to get up to speed. Call your broker. Check out Yahoo's put primer here and Wikipedia's here (scroll down to "naked put").
With BP today, you have the opportunity to make the equivalent of a 59% annual yield. The big risk here is that the situation suddenly deteriorates and BP's stock collapses.
But with BP's massive financial resources and all the bad expectations already priced into its shares, the market is compensating you handsomely for taking this risk.
Good investing,

Further Reading:

If you're not an old hand at selling puts, check out this overview from options guru Jeff Clark. He'll give you a super-simple explanation of what it means to sell a put... and why it's one of the world's best income strategies. Read more here: How Wall Street Will Pay You to Buy Stocks.
If you're still not convinced you should be selling puts, read this essay Porter Stansberry wrote in the dark days of the credit crisis. He makes the case that selling puts is hands-down the best way to take advantage of a bear market. "The fear lasts longer than the carnage," he writes. "And right now, that means free money in your pocket." Find out why here: How to Sell Hurricane Insurance After the Storm.

Market Notes


Today's message from the market: Get ready to read some horrid headlines from Spain.
Trade the markets for more than a month and you'll come to appreciate the old trader's wisdom that the market always leads the news... and rarely the other way around. For example, U.S. homebuilder stocks turned lower in 2005 well before the housing/credit crisis hit in 2007. For a "future example," we present the past 18 months of trading in the iShares Spain fund (EWP).
EWP is one of the largest and most liquid ways for U.S. investors to buy and sell Spanish stocks. The fund tracks the Spanish stock market. As you can see, EWP is tracking it right into the ground. Shares are down 39% since January. And just last week, they struck their lowest low in over a year.
Spain is dealing with a crushing 20% unemployment rate and a huge budget deficit... which just produced a cut in its sovereign credit rating. Its stock market is signaling things are about to get worse. Since stocks lead the news, get ready to hear that "the rain in Spain" is coming down hard.

EWP is plummeting... Spain is the next Greece

In The Daily Crux

Recent Articles