Covered Call: Microsoft, Exxon Mobil, JPMorgan

| About: JPMorgan Chase (JPM)

In the endless search for yield, a covered-call strategy can be an effective tool to supplement portfolio performance. In addition to finding returns from call premium, I'll try to incorporate higher quality dividend stocks for a little something extra. The guidelines for the covered-call strategy are:

  • Generating more than 7% per year from the calls and dividends combined is the overall goal.
  • Call should be at least 8% out of the money, to avoid being called away and to give room for underlying movement.
  • Targeted expirations will be within 4 months. Optimally calls will be written on the same underlying 3-4 times per year.
  • Buying back calls to close before expirations takes place will be taken into account; yields are calculated bid-$0.05.

The picks should be looked upon as yield generators to supplement longer-term equity holdings. The above are only guidelines, however, not rules. Before utilizing the strategy, make sure to study it and know the potential. hiccups that may occur.

Annualized Call Yield performance can be calculated as such:

= (Call premium/Stock price)/Days to expiration*365

Prices current as of June 25, 2012 market close

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) October 31 call

Solid company and stock with some interesting products coming out. I like the newfound creativity instead of the old bland culture that plagued this bellwether tech while Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) moved in over the last 10 years.

Strike 31
Exp Month October
Stock Price $28.83
Call Bid $0.43
Days to Expiration 87
OTM 7.53%
Call Yield 1.32%
Annualized Call Yield 5.53%
Annual Dividend Yield 2.74%
Total Annual Yield 8.27%
Click to enlarge

Exxon Mobil (XOM) September 90 call

This pick won't fit most of the rules above; however, from a technical standpoint, I feel comfortable. There is massive resistance keeping this stock below $90, the price action would need a major catalyst for a break through higher. With the global economic slowdown I am confident the price will not break through this level before the September expiration. Following this size of premium from the call writing for a year will hypothetically double the annual dividend; any investor would be happy with that result.

Strike 90
Exp Month September
Stock Price $85.24
Call Bid $0.42
Days to Expiration 59
OTM 5.58%
Call Yield 0.43%
Annualized Call Yield 2.69%
Annual Dividend Yield 2.70%
Total Annual Yield 5.39%
Click to enlarge

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) October 39 call

This stock has been beat up lately with the CIO debacle. Use the covered call premium as a stock repair strategy for now if you haven't decided to rid your portfolio of murky financials. This particular call and stock combo matches the rules I laid out above; the only issue may be personal opinions regarding the quality of this company's financial statements going forward (but I doubt JPM is going out of business).

Strike 39
Exp Month October
Stock Price $35.17
Call Bid $0.53
Days to Expiration 87
OTM 10.89%
Call Yield 1.36%
Annualized Call Yield 5.73%
Annual Dividend Yield 3.67%
Total Annual Yield 9.40%
Click to enlarge

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.