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The time has finally come to issue a Sell recommendation for Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP). The stock has performed wonderfully since the Stock Focus recommendation was issued on September 29, 2006. While this company and the oil services industry can go higher than the previous peak, our funds could be better employed in other areas.

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HP was recommended when it was trading at $23.03. According to the most recently available data from Morningstar.com, as of the close of market on Tuesday 8/5/2008, the stock closed at $53.95. This stock has provide a total return (price appreciation plus dividend income) of 141.50%, or approximately 70.75% annually. If we considered this stock without using total return, this stock would have returned 134%, or approximately 67.12% annually.

It is always recommended that when selling a stock, one should not place an order after hours or when the market is closed. This leaves the seller in the position of being vulnerable to the whims of the market makers. Instead, place your sell orders only as a market order during market hours. Some would complain that a market order during market hours might leave some profits on the table. However, I would rather leave some money on the table than have it taken away from me by the trades that are placed by institutions and market makers.

Disclosures: None

Source: Helmerich & Payne: Time for Profit Taking