Today’s tickers: ORLY, MRK & PCS
ORLY - O'Reilly Automotive, Inc. – Shares in auto parts retailer, O’Reilly Automotive, are facing double-digit declines today after the company cut its second-quarter same-store sales projection and said earnings for the quarter are likely to come in at the low end of their previously estimated $1.13 to $1.17 a share range. The stock is off the lows of the session, down 15.0% at $81.97 just before midday in New York after earlier sliding as much as 21.5% to an intraday and six-month low of $75.61. The sharp pullback in O’Reilly shares today appears to have attracted contrarian players to the front month calls. Traders positioning for the price of the underlying to rebound in the near term snapped up at least a few hundred calls at the July $80 strike for an average premium of $1.93 apiece this morning. The intraday improvement in the share price during the first half of the session now sees these calls changing hands at $4.30 apiece. Similar bullish positioning is building in the July $85 strike calls, as well. It looks like traders purchased roughly 600 of the $85 calls for an average premium of $0.65 apiece in the first few hours of the trading day, contracts that now tout an asking price of $1.65 each. Call buyers may walk away with big profits at expiration should O’Reilly Automotive’s shares continue to recover during the next few weeks. The front month calls expire the week prior to ORLY’s second-quarter earnings report on July 25th.
MRK - Merck & Co., Inc. – Call options on Merck & Co. are active today as shares in the drug maker tack on 1.7% to trade at a near multi-year high of $40.73. The stock has climbed roughly 10.0% since the first of the month. Substantial volume is building in the Aug. $42 strike call where approximately 20,000 lots changed hands by 12:45 p.m. in New York, versus open interest of just 701 contracts. A large block of 13,000 of the $42 strike calls were purchased this morning by one strategist for a premium of $0.42 apiece. The position may be profitable at expiration should shares in Merck rally another 4.1% to $42.42, a price-level last visited by the stock back in March 2008. The Aug. $42 strike calls are not the only contracts to see heavy trading traffic today. Overall options volume on MRK is greater than 60,000 contracts at present, with around 32 calls trading for each single put option in play on the stock today. The pharmaceuticals firm is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell on July 27th.
PCS - MetroPCS Communications, Inc. – Call buying on the wireless provider today suggests at least one options player sees the potential for shares to improve this summer. Shares in PCS, trading near multi-year lows, are up 2.15% this afternoon at $5.71. Bullish positioning on the stock may be a profitable move should shares rally substantially following the company’s second-quarter earnings report on July 26th. The most active contracts on MetroPCS today are the Aug. $7.0 strike calls that changed hands 1,300 times against open interest of 362 contracts. It looks like most of the calls were purchased within the first 15 minutes of the trading day at a premium of $0.20 each. Call buyers make money at expiration should the price of the underlying jump 26.0% to surpass the effective breakeven price of $7.20. MetroPCS shares last traded above $7.20 in May.