If you follow my fantastical $10,000 portfolio here on Seeking Alpha, you know that I've turned it decidedly more conservative in 2012. I also intend to hold many of the simulated positions in my real-life accounts. My re-emphasis on dividend-paying growth stocks, however, does not portend a wholesale shift away from more speculative ventures. I always leave a segment of every portfolio open for speculation.
In this article, I discuss several trades that I made in real-life that might suit the core and speculative portions of long-term investors' portfolios. For each position, I highlight an option trade you can make in addition to or in lieu of the stock position. The options trades reflect the thinking I articulate in my basic options strategy eBook.
More than any other, the media space fascinates me. Tons of opportunity exists there for long-term investors who think big picture, resisting the allure of smoke and mirrors fads such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).
BUY. Rogers Communications (NYSE:RCI). Simply put, Rogers could not exist in the United States. It's next to impossible to list all of the things Rogers has its hands in without leaving something out. It owns professional sports teams, arenas and a nationwide cable network. It delivers wireless, landline, Internet, television and home monitoring. And now Rogers has launched an online marketing arm for Canadian small business.
Yes, Fox News is correct. They're a bunch of socialist pigs over in Canada. Let capitalism and freedom ring in the 50 states. The DOJ would squash Verizon (NYSE:VZ) like a bug if it tried to pull off anything close to what Rogers does north of the border.
I usually don't get Crameresque excited, but I really think this stock is a screaming buy. For a bit more exposure, consider the RCI July 2012 $40 calls. They're thinly traded, therefore go small, name your price using a limit order and don't compromise. Personally, I'm just sticking with regular buys of the common stock.
BUY. Time Warner (NYSE:TWX). Following my conviction that you want to own media stocks that hold the cards, I went long TWX this morning. While not quite to the extent that Rogers does, Time Warner has a nice stranglehold on several key areas.
Every single time Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes opens his mouth, he proves that he gets it. It's interesting when you compare the demeanor and actions of CEOs. Guys like Bewkes appear to move slowly, but this seemingly methodical approach only reflects seasoned experience. Like an athlete who has been there before. I see this in Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) chief Jeff Bezos and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) top dog Mark Pincus. I do not see it, however, in the man who argues that TWX's HBO is his company's only true competition - Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
You cannot deny Hastings has a solid handle on the future of media. He's correct. It's smart and it's social. But, impressive visionaries do not always make for great CEOs. Consider how Time Warner put together HBO GO. Compare that type of slick and well-timed shrewdness to the often-erratic one day we do and say this, the next we do and say the opposite style of Hastings at Netflix. If you're a long-term investor, which ticker symbol do you think will remain active 20 years from now - TWX or NFLX?
That said, NFLX certainly represents the place where you can make a quick buck now. For the past couple of months, it has been on the upside. Before that, it was strong to the downside. Learn from history or you're doomed to get swallowed up and spit out by it.
Because TWX likely will not provide an instant rush, I'm all for writing covered calls against a long position in the stock. The TWX February $38 calls, for example, generate about $0.80 ($80) worth of income apiece.
Speculative BUY. Cumulus Media (NASDAQ:CMLS). I am already building a position in Pandora (NYSE:P). That's my main media speculation. I went long Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) in the $10,000 portfolio, but not in real life. In the simulated portfolio, I have a $1.95 stop loss set. In real life, I would think seriously about entering a position below that, but somewhere closer to $1.50. If that never happens, so be it. I'm not bullish enough about the company's long-term prospects to take a chance on it at these levels as any other than a hedge against myself.
I'm not all that fired up about Cumulus's long-term outlook either. Broadcast radio continues to talk tough, but its copycat actions do nothing more than validate Pandora's existence, while confirming its dominance. (Speaking of Pandora, I have an interview set up with its CFO, Steve Cakebread that should hit Seeking Alpha next week).
Despite my long-term skepticism, Cumulus has some nice tailwinds behind it. Strong insider buying, coupled with the real possibility of a short squeeze, makes it a horse that could run. Potential catalysts? Political ad revenue that's already starting to hit the books for 2012 and cost-savings realized by cutting staff and expenses as Cumulus integrates Citadel into the fold.
BUY. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC). Not only does Intel call the shots in the PC market, as it facilitates development of "ultrabooks," but it's hardly out of the tablet game. Brad McCarty over at NextWeb Insider makes a compelling case for Intel as the dominant chipmaker for the Android ecosystem. McCarty thinks a combination of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) haters, bargain shoppers and "marketing sheep" will continue to drive Android's growth and, in turn, Intel's:
For Intel, every one of these groups acts as another brick in its already-firm foundation. Though the PC market may very well be getting a much-needed shake-up from the growing use of tablets, Intel has now locked its talons firmly into the Android ecosystem. If I'm wrong, I'll eat my words, but I still stand by my belief that Intel chips will become the default Android power plant in the next 12 to 18 months.
I'm long the stock and would consider additional exposure via in-the-money January 2013 and 2014 LEAPS call options.
Additional disclosure: I am long NFLX June $40 put options. Yes, I am getting killed on them. Not surprised. Lots of time left. Think back to late last year.