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Option Trade of the Week – Here’s The Beef

March 27, 2023

Dear [[firstname]],

Here is your Option Trade of the Week, as included in this past weekend’s Saturday Report for our Terry’s Tips Insider Members. It was another post-earnings play, this time on a restaurant stock. Good luck with the trade!   

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We look forward to having you join us! Now on to the trade …

Here’s The Beef

Darden Restaurants (DRI) – a sit-down restaurant chain conglomerate that includes Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille – reported earnings this week that beat on virtually every measure. Not only did the company top earnings and sales estimates, same-store sales growth also came in above expectations. And DRI upped guidance above the expected range. The company claimed that raising prices less than the rate of inflation drove higher sales.

Analysts cheered the news, though none upgraded the stock. Price target increases were plentiful, pushing the average to $159. But that’s hardly ebullient, as it sits just 4% above Friday’s closing price. That seems reasonable, however, unlike many so-called “growth” stocks.

The stock dropped less than half a percent after the report. Perhaps that’s because it rallied into earnings, a move that broke above a trading range that had contained the shares for much of this year. Despite the range, the stock has been in an overall uptrend since June, rising nearly 40%. The 50-day moving average has guided this rally, although here have been dips below it, the most recent coming earlier this month.

This trade is not necessarily a bet that DRI will continue rising. It’s more a defensive play that the stock will not suffer a serious decline and will remain above the 50-day (blue line) and the bottom of the recent trading range. We’re going a little further out of the money with the short put strike to add a measure of safety. That, of course, means the credit is less. Note that we are going out eight weeks, as DRI does not have weekly options.

If you agree that DRI will continue to trade in a range – or at least not weaken – consider the following trade that relies on the stock staying above $145 (red line) through expiration in 8 weeks:

Buy to Open the DRI 19 May 140 put (DRI230519P140)
Sell to Open the DRI 19 May 145 put (DRI230519P145) for a credit of $1.10 (selling a vertical)

This credit is $0.02 less than the mid-point price of the spread at Friday’s $152.58 close. Unless DRI surges, you should be able to get close to that price.

The commission on this trade should be no more than $1.30 per spread. Each spread would then yield $108.70. This trade reduces your buying power by $500, making your net investment $391.30 per spread ($500 – $108.70). If DRI closes above $145 on May 19, both options will expire worthless and your return on the spread would be 28% ($108.70/$391.30).   

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Thank you again for being a part of the Terry’s Tips newsletter.

Happy trading,

Jon L

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