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Cypress Semi Draws Bullish Option Plays

www.interactivebrokers.com

Bullish trades abound in Cypress Semiconductor options today, most notably a massive bull call spread initiated in the July expiry contracts. One strategist appears to have purchased 30,000 of the Jul 16.0 strike calls at a premium of $0.89 each and sold the same number of Jul 19.0 strike calls at a premium of $0.22 apiece. Net premium paid to put on the spread amounts to $0.67 per contract, thus establishing a breakeven share price of $16.67 on the trade. Cypress shares reached a 52-week high of $16.25 back on Friday, March 13th, and would need to rally 4.6% over the current level to exceed the breakeven point of $16.25. The spread generates maximum potential profits of $2.33 per contract in the event that CY shares surge more than 20% in the next four months to reach $19.00 by July expiration. Shares in Cypress are down 1.0% at $15.54 as of the time of this writing.

Chart – Three-month chart of CY (magenta line: b/e point, blue line: max profit)


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Bearish oil options bear fruit

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Bearish oil options bear fruit

Courtesy of Andrew Wilkinson

With stories and analysis pointing to fewer and fewer physical places to store crude oil coupled at the hip with an ever-strengthening dollar, it’s hard to get optimistic on the outlook for energy prices. The cost of a barrel of WTI for April delivery has fallen again ahead of the Fed’s March meeting by 3.4% to $43.33 helping drive down shares in the United States Oil Fund (Ticker: USO) to a fresh 52-week low.

Since the start of March the price of USO shares have fallen from above $19.00 to $16.18 (-15%). Option traders posturing for even lower oil prices appear to be riding the crest of a wave. The number of open positions in bearish strike prices from 16.0-19.0 in the USO has increased by 44% to 1.33 million in the past two weeks and compares to bullish open interest at the same strikes of 370,600 contracts. Bears have built positions of 300,000 at the 15.0, 16.0 and 17.0 strikes as the slide in crude oil prices has picked-up its pace. Since the rebound ran out of steam on March 4, implied volatility in the April series has jumped from 42% to 54% today. In the options market, that implies traders currently expect the USO to land within a price range of $14.90 and $18.10. By the same token, May expiration crude prices, where implied volatility is running at 57%, currently dictate a price range covered by $37.75 and $50.25 for the cost of a barrel of crude.

Chart – Bearish USO put option open interest has surged to 1.3 million at strikes from 15.0 to 19.0

 





Volatility softens on Lumber Liquidators

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Volatility softens on Lumber Liquidators

Courtesy of Andrew Wilkinson

Shares in Lumber Liquidators (Ticker: LL) continue to rebound and last traded higher by 11.2% at $36.40 following the company’s investor call on Thursday. Implied volatility on its options has fallen by 12.1% to 87.7% having reached 127% as a result of the recent scandal. Option volume of 61,000 contracts is evenly split between calls and puts as implied volatility at higher strikes continues to soften faster than at lower strikes. The following chart from the IB Volatility Lab compares implied volatility readings in the April 17 expiration across available strikes with the volatility structure of one week ago. Under normal conditions, the cost of a 10% out-of-the-money call should be around the same as a 10% out-of-the-money put. Last week, downside volatility of 99.2% was 3.2-points higher than upside volatility. As the entire volatility structure softens in response to a rising share price, option traders are softening the volatility level at higher strike prices, forcing the difference to widen to 4.2-points. As the chart shows, downside volatility remains elevated at increasingly lower strike prices.

Chart – Time lapse skew on Lumber Liquidators options

 





Petrobras implied volatility continues to climb

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Petrobras implied volatility continues to climb

Courtesy of Andrew Wilkinson

ADR shares in Brazil’s state-controlled oil and gas giant Petrobras (Ticker: PBR) continue to jump around following the recent announcement that investigations were underway connecting politicians with payouts from company officials. How that goes, nobody knows. The revelation is further bad news for investors who have seen PBR shares slump in the last six months from almost $21.00 to $5.28 on Wednesday. Around a month ago, when the shares stood at $6.45, investors plowed into bearish options in a big way, taking on a position of 107,000 puts expiring in July. At the time the positions were made, shares in Petrobras would have needed to fall by a further 22% to land at the 5.0 strike price. Option implied volatility that day at 67% has increased today to 72% as uncertainty grows. Meanwhile, the options have gained in value, boosted by rising volatility and stand today at 71-cents. We figure that without the volatility boost, the options would be worth 8-cents less. Still, that’s a healthy gain from the initial 42-cent premium paid back in February. 

Chart – Despite a rebound, implied volatility continues to reflect uncertainty

 





Implied Volatility Continues To Climb As Lumber Liquidators Shares Tumble

www.interactivebrokers.com

The first trading session of the week is only halfway complete, yet options volume on Lumber Liquidators has already surpassed the stock’s average daily options volume of around 38,000 contracts amid continued vicious selling in the underlying. Shares in LL are down another 11% today and trading below $30.00, the lowest level since June 2012, as the stock continues to suffer in the wake of a 60 Minutes documentary and comments from short sellers. Options implied volatility is up more than 12% on the session at 115% as of midday.

Snapshots of option volumes and open interest across all expiries and striking prices on Lumber Liquidators reveals notable differences. Open interest in call options is heaviest in what are now far out-of-the-money contracts, notably the 65.0 strike calls, while put open interest is greatest in deep in-the-money contracts, namely the 60.0 strike puts.

Meantime, today’s action in LL options is dispersed across a wider swath of striking prices, perhaps as some traders look to position for further damage to the share price. March expiry put options at the 17.0, 20.0, 21.0 and 22.0 strikes are in play today, roughly 25-40% out-of-the-money versus today’s current share price.

Chart – LL open interest levels across expiries and striking prices

Chart – LL volume snapshot 3/9/15 at midday


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Alibaba Options In Focus

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Options volume on Alibaba Group Holdings is poised to end at the session at approximately three times the average daily level, with volume in BABA contracts approaching 300,000 contracts versus average daily volume of 105,000 contracts and less than 30 minutes to go before the closing bell. Shares in BABA are down 3.0% as of the time of this writing to stand at $81.50, off the intraday and fresh 52-week low of $80.03 set earlier this afternoon.

Across all available expiries, the 80.0 strike put options are seeing notable activity, with cumulative volume in excess of 30,000 contracts. As for trading in BABA calls across available expiries, the 85.0, 87.5 and 90.0 strike contracts attracted the most action.

Chart – Above average day for Alibaba options volume


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SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

www.interactivebrokers.com

Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level of 2072.5 in order for the bullish trade to realize maximum possible gains.

Chart – Six-month chart of SPX


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Apple reaches $700bn market cap

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Apple reaches $700bn market cap

By Andrew Wilkinson at International Brokers (originally published on Nov. 25) 

It only took a few minutes to rack-up 100,000 option contracts in early trading as Apple’s market cap surged to a record. The shares touched $119.75 valuing the company in excess of $700 billion. After 15-minutes of trading, option dealers had traded more than 200,000 contracts with the most commonly traded strike of 120.0 accounting for a little over one-quarter of total volume. Around 50,000 call options at the 120.0 strike have dominated trading compared to only 8,000 puts. Bearish plays attracted far less attention across the board as bullish sentiment was maintained. Option implied volatility is up by 4% to 22.6% on Apple options.     

Chart – Call option activity dominated as shares in Apple surged

 

 





Yamana Gold call options sink

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Yamana Gold call options sink

By Andrew Wilkinson at Interactive Brokers

A four-year low for the spot price of gold has had a devastating impact on Yamana Gold (Ticker: AUY), with shares in the name down at the lowest price in six years. Some option traders were especially keen to sell premium and appear to see few signs of a lasting rebound within the next five months. The price of gold suffered again Wednesday as the dollar strengthened and stock prices advanced. The post price of gold fell to $1145 adding further pain to share prices of gold miners. Shares in Yamana Gold tumbled to $3.62 and the lowest price since 2008 as call option sellers used the April expiration contract to write premium at the $5.00 strike. That strike is now 38% above the price of the stock. Premium writers took in around 16-cents per contract on almost 10,000 call options. Ahead of the session, less than half that number of call options were held among investors. The spate of call selling on the name contributed to around half the overall volume tally of 21,600 contracts, which is already above the 10-day average reading of 16,100 lots associated with the stock. Option implied volatility is up only marginally on Yamana Gold at 60.9% with the market value of the company halving in the past six-weeks.  The most widely-held option across all strikes is the April 2015 6.0 strike put option where open interest remains at 44,000 contracts.

Chart – Open interest highest at 6.0 strike puts expiring in April

 




LUV Options Active Ahead Of Earnings

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There is lots of action in Southwest Airlines Co. November expiry call options today ahead of the air carrier’s third-quarter earnings report prior to the opening bell on Thursday. Among the large block trades initiated throughout the trading session, there appears to be at least one options market participant establishing a call spread in far out of the money options. It looks like the trader purchased a 4,000-lot Nov 37/39 call spread at a net premium of $0.40 apiece. The trade makes money if shares in Southwest rally 9.0% over the current price of $34.32 to exceed the effective breakeven point at $37.40, with maximum potential profits of $1.60 per contract available in the event that shares jump more than 13% to $39.00 by expiration. In September, the stock touched a more than 15-year high of $35.55.  Shares in LUV last traded near $39.00 in 1994.

Chart – Six-month chart of Southwest Airlines Co.


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Zero Hedge

Obama Administration Bullies Allies Over Iran Nuke Deal Dissent

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

President Obama is "blowing up our alliances to secure a deal that paves Iran’s way to a bomb," according to European sources close to the negotiations, and as Washington Free Beacon reports, efforts by the Obama administration to stem criticism of its diplomacy with Iran have included threats to nations involved in the talks, including U.S. allies. France has borne the brunt of Obama's wrath as one source in Europe close to the ongoing diplomacy said the US has begun to adopt a “harsh” sta...



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Phil's Favorites

5 Things To Ponder: Random Musings

Courtesy of Lance Roberts via STA Wealth Management

This weekend's reading list is a bit of a hodge-podge of reads on a variety of different topics. However, before we get into it I wanted to address an interesting statement by the Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart who Thursday:

"Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank president Dennis Lockhart said on Thursday there was little risk of a misstep that would force the Fed to lower rates once it begins raising them.

The economy is in solid shape to weather the upcoming turn to tightening monetary policy Lockhart, said at an investment education conference in Detroit.

"'Conditions are pretty solid,' said Lockhart, who regards an initial rate hike at the June, July or September Fed meetings as a high probability. 'I take th...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Insider Scoop

Raymond James Downgrades Power Integrations To Market Perform

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related POWI Benzinga's Top Downgrades Benzinga's Volume Movers

Analysts at Raymond James downgraded Power Integrations Inc. (NASDAQ: POWI) from Outperform to Market Perform and removed the price target of $57.00.

Power Integrations shares have dropped 18.42% over the past 52 weeks, while the S&P 500 index has surged 10.69% in the same period.

Power Integrations' shares fell 1.51% to $51.65 in pre-market trading.

Latest Ratings for POWI DateFirmActionFrom...

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Chart School

Median Household Income Up Slightly in February

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Summary: The Sentier Research monthly median household income data series is now available for February. The nominal median household income was up $178 month-over-month and up $1,409 year-over-year. That's a 0.3% MoM gain and 2.7% YoY. Adjusted for inflation, the numbers were up $60 MoM and $1447 YoY. The real numbers equate to a 0.1% monthly increase and a 2.7% yearly increase.

In real dollar terms, the median annual income is 4.5% lower ($2,580) than its interim high in January 2008 but well off its low in August 2011.

Background on Sentier Research

The traditional source of household income data is the Census Bureau, which publishes annual household income data in mid-September for the previous year.

...



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Promotions

Watch Phil on Money Talk on BNN Now!

Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show last night. As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. (And get this, Obama - the President - is following Phil on Twitter.) ~ Ilene

 

The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below. 

Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.   ...

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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Bulls retake the wheel, with a little help from their friends at the Fed

Reminder: Sabrient is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Courtesy of Scott Martindale at Sabrient Systems

Well, it didn’t take long for the bulls to jump on their buying opportunity, with a little help from the bulls’ friend in the Fed. In fact, despite huge daily swings in the market averages driven by daily news regarding timing of interest rate hikes, the strength in the dollar, and oil prices, trading actually has been quite rational, honoring technical formations and support levels and dutifully selling overbought conditions and buying when oversold. Yes, the tried and true investing clichés continue to work -- “Don’t fight the Fed,” and “The trend is your friend.”

In this weekly update, I give my view of the cur...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of March, 23rd, 2015

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin vs. Uber: Bitcoin Lovers Respond to Mish

Courtesy of Mish.

I recently commented that it would not surprise me if bitcoin plunged to $1.00. That was not a prediction, it was a comment.

Still, I still feel a collapse in bitcoin is likely.

For discussion, please see Cash Dinosaur: France Limits Cash Transactions to €1,000, Puts Restrictions on Gold; Bitcoin End Coming?

In response, reader Creighton writes ...

Hello Mish

While I'm not going to argue the point about the possibility that Bitcoin drops to $1, or less, (that could happen yet, but not for the reasons you propose) I felt it necessary to point out something you seem to have overlooked.

While it's likely that the US government watching Bitco...



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Market Shadows

Kimble Charts: South Korea's EWY

Kimble Charts: South Korea's EWY

By Ilene 

Chris Kimble likes the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped (EWY), but only if it breaks out of a pennant pattern. This South Korean equities ETF has underperformed the S&P 500 by 60% since 2011.

You're probably familiar with its largest holding, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, and at least several other represented companies such as Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp.

...



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Option Review

Cypress Semi Draws Bullish Option Plays

Bullish trades abound in Cypress Semiconductor options today, most notably a massive bull call spread initiated in the July expiry contracts. One strategist appears to have purchased 30,000 of the Jul 16.0 strike calls at a premium of $0.89 each and sold the same number of Jul 19.0 strike calls at a premium of $0.22 apiece. Net premium paid to put on the spread amounts to $0.67 per contract, thus establishing a breakeven share price of $16.67 on the trade. Cypress shares reached a 52-week high of $16.25 back on Friday, March 13th, and would need to rally 4.6% over the current level to exceed the breakeven point of $16.25. The spread generates maximum potential profits of $2.33 per contract in the event that CY shares surge more than 20% in the next four months to reach $19.00 by July expiration. Shar...



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Pharmboy

2015 - Biotech Fever

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs!   The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down!  The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months.  What could go wrong?

Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.

Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies.  A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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