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An Interesting Options Play for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

If you like a stock, there is a much better way to make money on it other than buying shares.  The answer is to use options, of course.  Today I would like to share one simple trade you can make as an alternative to owning the stock.  It should gain over 50% in two months even if the stock does not go up by a penny.  If the stock falls by 10% over that period, you should make about 20%.  Meanwhile, people who bought the stock would have absolutely nothing to show for their investment (except maybe a loss).

Why would you ever buy a share of stock when options could deliver these kinds of returns?

An Interesting Options Play for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) has had a rocky year, but for the last few months it seems to have stabilized and might be worth a second look (especially if you could make 20% or more on it with options in just two months as I propose here).  First, check out a recent Seeking Alpha article Green Mountain: Stock Is A Good Brew.  It might give you a little confidence in the stock.
In the interests of presenting both sides, check out the downside case, also at Seeking Alpha – Stay Away From Green Mountain Coffee.  However, even this critic advises against shorting the stock. 

GMCR is selling at 9x or 10x earnings and doesn’t appear likely to have a big sell-off in the near future.  One option investor recently made a huge options bet that the stock will move higher – see Bulls Smell the Coffee at Green Mountain.  These options could return $5 million to the buyer if the stock is above $30 when the November options expire on the 17th.

The option strategy I suggest should make about 20% in two months even if GMCR falls by 10% over that time period.

I have watched this company for many years.  It is located in my home state of Vermont.  I used to play tennis with its founder, Bob Stiller, every week.  (I don’t want to brag, but I remember that I won about 90% of the matches – he seemed to be more interested in growing his company than staying in tennis shape.)   Just today, Bob donated $10 million to Champlain College, a local business school that has also been one of my favorite charities (and where I was a trustee for 11 years).

Here is what the risk profile graph looks like for the stock (currently trading at just under $24).  These positions cost about $2700 to put on:


The graph shows that a nice profit averaging over 30% can be made in two months at any ending price on December 21st which is higher than $22, and a profit of some sort at any price higher than $20.50.  This downside break-even point would mean that the stock fell by 14% from its current level.

Here are the actual positions that create the above risk profile graph:


I used 10 diagonal call spreads, buying January 2013 calls and selling December 23 calls for about $2.70 ($270 per spread).  This simple trade is far superior to owning the stock as far as I am concerned.  If the stock falls 10%, you still make about 20% on your investment.  If the stock stays exactly where it is on January 18th you should earn almost 60% on your money.

Why would anyone buy the stock when they could place a simple spread like this and make money even if the stock goes nowhere or even falls by as much as 10%?  It just doesn’t make sense to me.


Any questions?   I would love to hear from you by email (, or if you would like to talk to our guy Seth, give him a jingle at 800-803-4595 and either ask him your question(s) or give him your thoughts.

You can see every trade made in 8 actual option portfolios conducted at Terry’s Tips and learn all about the wonderful world of options by subscribing here.   Why wait any longer to make this important investment in yourself?

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Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading my expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options

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