October 24, 2011 at 08:30 AM EDT
Honeywell Calls Can Offer Sweet Short-Term Returns
HON beat analysts' expectations by 10 cents a share and raised its full-year outlook. This news could push shares higher the short term.

We are currently in the middle of earnings season, which makes finding suitable option plays with a stock not announcing a tad more difficult. In many cases, it may be best to wait for the news to hit the tape to get the clearest indication of where the stock may be headed next.

One name that fits the bill perfectly is Honeywell International (NYSE:HON), which just announced earnings on Friday. The picture was generally positive, with the company raising its profit guidance and posting earnings per share (EPS) that were 10 cents ahead of analysts’ expectations.

Fundamentally, this news might be enough to push shares higher. And from a technical perspective, the stock has been trapped under $50 for more than two months. Then when the earnings report was released, shares gapped over that barrier.

The stock might retest the $50 area before going higher, which is sometimes common for bullish breakouts. If HON either continues higher (look for the stock to go above Friday’s high) or does retest and hold, a bullish run could ensue.

A practical short-term target for HON would be around $54, which is where the 200-day moving average currently resides. To get in on this upside, you can buy the HON Nov 50 Calls for $2.75 or less.

The trade profits when the stock rises, and the call premium increases as the HON option moves more and more in-the-money. A call is in-the-money when its strike price is below the market price of the shares. (With HON currently trading at $51.28, the call is already slightly in-the-money.)

Maximum profit is unlimited because HON can continue to rise, and the maximum loss is $2.75 — what you paid to enter the trade — if HON finishes below $50 at November expiration.

If the stock drops below $47, a support area (previous channel lows), consider exiting the long position.


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