Covered Call Taken Away

Sale of a tech stalwart

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, January 21, 2014

This is a note of little consequence, but I’ve promised to share my portfolio when it comes to equity trades so I thought I should let you know that I sold the vast majority of my Intel (INTC) shares over the weekend. Not because I particularly wanted to sell, but because I had sold covered call options a few months ago against most of my INTC holdings and they ended up being in the money a bit even after INTC’s disappointing earnings results late last week and thus were called away after options expiration on Friday.

Intel is still a fine company, and the best semiconductor manufacturer in the world. And they pay a solid dividend of about 3.5%. But they’re not cheap and they’re not really growing at the moment, and they’re going to have a challenging year, with flat revenue, as they try to establish a mobile chip business and hope for recovery in PC sales to go along with their very strong data center chip business.

I wouldn’t have automatically sold at $25, but I’m happy enough to take my profits at that price and wait to buy back in when the stock settles down — with six quarters of flat dividend I think they’ll need to raise the dividend soon to keep ahold of dividend investors, which might help support the stock if it happens and perhaps I’ll be left behind. I expect it’s more likely that they’ll come back to the low $20s again, at which point I might rebuild my position if better ideas haven’t come to the top of my mind in the meantime.

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