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Don’t Knock on Wood this Earnings Season

Trade calls in lumber stocks to capture the housing recovery


No doubt earnings season has chopped down stocks across a horde of sectors, from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Xerox (NYSE:XRX) to The New York Times Co. (NYSE:NYT) to even Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX) faster than you can say “timber.”

But don’t discount all sectors when it comes to earnings upside.

The forestry (lumber) space is enjoying some strength on the back of the housing recovery. Forest products  (NYSE:WY) released impressive earnings figures Friday, including earnings that leaped 83% from the year-ago period to 22 cents per share, which exceeded the Street’s expectations by 4 cents. The company also reported a 13% revenue increase to $1.77 billion, while boosting its dividend 13% to 17 cents.

I recommended some Power Options in the form of WY calls to my Maximum Options subscribers to take advantage of the move a few weeks before the earnings announcement, but don’t worry — you haven’t wholly missed out on a lumber-sector opportunity.

My system still rates WY as a buy with a strong short-term and long-term outlook, but another lumber name flashing a buy signal is Louisiana-Pacific (NYSE:LPX), which reports earnings Nov. 6. LPX has a solid short-, medium- and long-term outlook, and it’s ripe for establishing longer-term calls.

I recommend buying the LPX Jan 17 Call options at $1.05 or lower. After entry, take profits if the stock price hits $17.60, at which point the option price should be around $2, nearly doubling your money. Exit if the stock price closes below $14.80 or the call option’s price drops in value to 70.

A note that a competitor to both WY and LPX, Plum Creek Timber (NYSE:PCL), reports earnings Oct. 29, so strong results from these three names could indicate we’ll see more strength in the housing sector going forward.

Ken Trester is editor of the popular Maximum Options program. Trester has been trading options since the first exchanges opened in 1973 with a winning streak that goes back to 1984 with money-doubling average annual profits since 1990.

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