3 Thanksgiving trades to make now

These options trades might make you even more gravy for the holiday.

By InvestorPlace Nov 19, 2009 1:59PM
By Chris Johnson, Jon Lewis and Michael Shulman

fistful of moneyThe current market rally is giving investors a lot to be thankful for this year.

In the spirit of the holidays, here are three trades to make now that can bring you a little more gravy. There are two stocks to buy call options on, and one turkey to short.

  6 options trades you can be thankful for

Here's wishing you some tasty profits to make the season even brighter.

Thanksgiving Trade 1: PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund Calls

Thanksgiving's origins can be traced back to festivals meant to celebrate the harvest, which makes our bullish pick a natural play on the holiday. The PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund (DBA) provides investors with a single-share alternative to investing in agricultural commodities.

This was one of the hottest commodity-based ETFs in 2007 and 2008, as the "crowd" became increasingly interested in trading commodities as food prices skyrocketed. Lately, DBA has seen less activity, as rising food prices have fallen off consumers' and investors' radar screens. However, in our view, that means it's the perfect time for a bullish play.

Inflation fears have been in the news lately as interest rates remain extremely low. At the same time, news that current grain harvests have been affected by the wet conditions in the Midwest are likely to start boosting grain and other agricultural commodity prices. Given this, we believe investors who buy call options on DBA will harvest market-beating gains in the next three to six months.

Thanksgiving Trade 2: Darden Restaurants Puts

Thanksgiving is a time when friends and family gather at home for a feast, but the restaurant industry is hoping that a good number of folks dine out amid their holiday shopping activities. Given the tentative economic recovery and double-digit unemployment rate, it's doubtful that they'll get their wish. That's why our bearish pick is Darden Restaurants (DRI), operator of Red Lobster, Olive Garden, The Capital Grille and LongHorn Steakhouse, to name a few.

The stock itself is under some pressure, having gone nowhere for the past eight months. In fact, the shares are staring up at some formidable technical resistance that has kept them in check for nearly two months. What's more, we're seeing a lot of optimism toward DRI that, quite frankly, is not deserved.

The put/call ratio is low, indicating a lot of hopeful call activity. And nearly 60% of covering analysts rate the shares a "buy" without one "sell" rating in the entire bunch, which doesn't leave much room for upgrades.

Optimism among investors on stocks with shaky fundamentals and weak technicals is a bearish recipe, so consider buying put options on DRI.

Thanksgiving Trade 3: Retail HOLDRs Calls

Retailers are going to struggle this holiday season, and the Street simply does not care. While retail sales figures for October exceeded expectations by historical standards, they were still awful, and economists don't expect a robust holiday shopping season. But the market seems to be anticipating a holiday surprise, as retail ETFs are all up.

The retail sector is fundamentally unsound, yet technically flying, so take advantage of Wall Street's misplaced optimism with the Retail HOLDRs ETF (RTH). Go long RTH with short-term calls, and take quick profits and run when there is even a whiff of a change in sentiment on the Street regarding retail stocks.

Click here to see all 6 thanksgiving trades to make now

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