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.
Shares in Apple (Ticker: AAPL) are near their highs of the session in the final hour of trading on Wednesday, adding to the muted gains seen earlier in the day, following the release of the September FOMC meeting minutes and after activist investor and Apple shareholder Carl Icahn tweeted, “Tmrw we’ll be sending an open letter to @tim_cook. Believe it will be interesting.” Icahn’s tweet hit the ether at 2:33 pm ET and was met with a spike in volume in Apple shares. The stock is currently up 2.0% on the day at $100.75 as of 3:15 pm ET.
Alibaba (Ticker: BABA) options have been trading for one week. Let’s take a look at where options traders have accumulated the most positions in BABA call and put options. Per the below chart, the 90.0 strike calls and puts are by far the most held options contracts across all available expiries on the Chinese e-commerce giant. All told, it looks like there are approximately 52,000 contracts held at the 90.0 strike level, or roughly 17% of total open interest on the name of 312,000 contracts. The call/put interest ratio of approximately 1.5 on Alibaba indicates more of the open interest held of investors is in call options versus puts on the stock. Shares in BABA today are roughly flat on the session to stand at 88.20, and options traders have exchanged a little more than 22,000 contracts versus the stock’s average daily options volume of 99,000 contracts.
The CBOE Vix Index topped 17.0 and the highest level since early-August on Monday morning amid declines in U.S. equities to start the trading week. The volatility index is off its earlier highs to trade 5.0% higher on the session at 15.65 as of 11:30 am ET. Options volume on the VIX is hovering near 360,000 contracts, or just more than 50% of the average daily reading of around 660,000 contracts. Calls are far more active than put options, as evidenced by the call/put ratio up above 4.2 in morning trading, perhaps as some traders position for volatility to stick around.
Large call spreads traded on the VIX today caught our attention as one big options market participant appears to be rolling a bull call spread from the October to November expiration. A 45,000-lot Oct 19.0/23.0 call spread appears to have been sold, while the November 17/23 call spread appears to have been purchased, all at a net premium of $0.57 per contract. The spread looks for volatility to potentially rise to the highest levels since December 2012 when the VIX touched a two-year high of 23.23. The chart below marks the 17.0 and 23.0 levels (dashed lines), the striking prices selected in the Nov 17.0/23.0 bull call spread.
At around 10 am ET on Wednesday, shares in SunEdison Inc. (Ticker: SUNE) reversed early-morning declines and jumped more than 11% to $21.39 on speculation General Electric Co. (Ticker: GE) may be interested in purchasing the company. Speculation has since been snuffed out after a spokeswoman for General Electric stated the company is not in talks to acquire the company. Shares in SUNE continue to trade up on the session, albeit off earlier highs, to stand 3.5% higher on the day at $19.98 and above its opening print of $19.46. The move in the stock sparked very heavy trading in options on the stock, sending volume to just below 100,000 contracts by 1:00 pm ET versus average daily options volume of around 24,000 contracts. Much of the trading traffic was in SUNE calls, driving the call/put ratio to roughly 10.0 during the first half of the session. Volume in shares of SUNE also spiked, with nearly 25mm shares traded versus average volume of 11.3mm shares.
Investors are dumping shares in Yahoo, sending the stock down 5.0% to $40.08 after shares in Alibaba made their debut on the floor of the NYSE just before midday. Shares in BABA for their part initially traded up to a high of $99.70, a near 47% increase over the IPO price of $68.00. Typically, one would expect put options that are 5% out of the money with roughly 4-hours left to trade to see waning implied volatility. But, at the start of the trading session and ahead of the first trade for BABA, the Sep 19 ’14 40.0 strike put options were trading with 271% volatility or $0.30 per contract amid uncertainty as to how the start of trading for Alibaba would take shape.
After shares in BABA debuted, volatility in the 40.0 strike puts imploded, dropping almost immediately to 154% and sending premium on the contracts down to as low as $0.04 each. However, with shares in BABA at $90.70 as of 12:30 p.m. ET and having backed off of their intraday highs to trade below the initial traded price of $92.70, selling pressure on Yahoo is increasing and premium on those YHOO 40.0 strike puts has ripped to the upside. At last check, the 40.0 strike put options with just hours to go before expiration are changing hands at $0.60 apiece at roughly 150% implied volatility.
Overall volume in Yahoo options has surpassed 1 million contracts, more than twice the stock’s average daily options volume of 453,000 contracts.
The CBOE Vix Index is in positive territory on Friday morning as shares in the S&P 500 Index move slightly lower. Currently the VIX is up roughly 2.75% on the session at 13.16 as of 11:35 am ET. Earlier in the session big prints in October expiry call options caught our attention as one large options market participants appears to have purchased roughly 106,000 of the Oct 22.0 strike calls for a premium of around $0.45 each. The VIX has not topped 22.0 since the end of 2012, but it would not take such a dramatic move in the spot index in order to lift premium on the contracts. The far out-of-the-money calls would likely increase in value in the event that S&P500 Index stocks slip in the near term. The VIX traded up to a 52-week high of 21.48 back in February. Next week’s release of the FOMC meeting minutes from August could give rise to increased volatility in U.S. equities. If you recall, the VIX spiked to approximately 17.5 on August 1st amid concerns over geopolitical risk that sent market participants scrambling for protection as stocks slumped.
Big prints in Autodesk, Inc. (Ticker: ADSK) call options today appear to be part of a call butterfly spread, a strategy that may be profitable if shares in the maker of 3D-software rise to fresh 52-week highs by October expiration. Shares in Autodesk are up 0.85% today at $53.82 as of 12:10 pm ET. The one-by-two-by-one call spread traded during the first 25 minutes of the session and is by far the largest trade in ADSK options today. Overall volume on the stock has soared to 35,000 contracts as of the time of this writing versus average daily volume of around 2,800 contracts.
It looks like one strategist purchased 5,000 calls at both the Oct 55.0 and 65.0 strikes, and sold 10,000 calls at the Oct 60.0 strike. The trade cost a net $0.75 per contract and starts making money if shares in Autodesk rally 3.6% over the current price to exceed the breakeven point at $55.75. Maximum potential profits of $4.25 per contract are available on the call butterfly spread in the event that ADSK shares surge 11.5% to $60.00 at October expiration. Autodesk’s shares traded up to a 52-week high of $58.68 back in February.
Coal and coke producer SinoCoking Coal and Coke Chemical Industries, Inc. (Ticker: SCOK) typically sees average daily options volume of around 42 contracts, but today, with shares in the name spiking more than 200% intraday to $8.96, options volume has surged to more than 1,300 contracts as of 11:15 am ET. Much of the volume is centered at the Sep 7.5 strike, with around 630 of the calls at that strike changing hands and 290 puts against zero open positions. Traders appear to be buying the Sep 7.5 strike calls for an average premium of $0.83 as of the time of this writing. Shares in the name appear to have spiked after the company announced some details regarding a new underground coal gasification project, per a brief article released by Reuters. Volume in SCOK shares have exploded, with more than 15.5 million shares traded as of 11:25 am ET versus average daily volume of around 300,000 shares.
Volume in Apple Inc. (Ticker: AAPL) options is spiking today as shares in the name slide back into double-digits after yesterday trading up to a fresh record high of $103.74. Upwards of 1.5 million options contracts have changed hands on the stock by midday, which compares to average daily volume of around 940,000 contracts. Shares in AAPL are down roughly 4.5% on the day at $98.60, helped lower in part by comments from Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves, as investors await the company’s September 9 media event in Cupertino, California.
As of the time of this writing, roughly 1.9 call options are trading for each single put option changing hands on the stock. Perhaps some traders are taking profits following the stock’s roughly 30% rally since the start of 2014, or alternatively, picking up calls at relatively discounted premium levels amid the day’s selloff in the view that shares may potentially bounce back. The pop in implied volatility on the name, up 22% on the day at last check, could also be attracting traders to the options as well. Trading is most active in near term calls and puts. Specifically, the Sep 05 ’14 102.0 strike calls and the Sep 12 ’14 107.0 strike call options have each traded upwards of 66,000 times, trumping existing open interest levels. The Sep 05 ’14 99.0 strike put options are seeing volume in excess of 59,000 contracts as of midday.
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 email@example.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.
While JPM's eligible gold holdings are nowhere near the record lows hit in the summer of 2013, when they dropped to a tiny 46K ounces, sparking concerns of a potential deliverable default, yesterday according to the daily CME gold depository report, JPM saw a whopping 321,500 ounces, or about 10 tons of gold, withdrawn. This was the biggest outflow since the August 5 rebalance when nearly 1.5 million ounces were withdrawn and added, and was the biggest, and is tied with two identical 321,500 oz outflows recorded in early January. As of yesterday, JPM's eligible gold tumbled by 40% in one day, declining to 485.K ounces from over 800K the day before: the lowest eligible gold inventory since almost exactly a ...
The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.9, down substantially from the previous week's 131.4. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -0.1, down from 1.0 the previous week and its first negative print since August of 2012.
ECRI has been at the center of a prolonged controversy since publicizing its recession call on September 30, 2011. The company had made the announcement to its private clients on September 21st. ECRI's cofounder and spokesman, Lakshman Achuthan, subsequently forecast that the recession would begin in Q1 2012, or Q2 at the latest. He later identified mid-2012 as the start of the recession. Over the past two years he has been a frequent guest on...
Unfortunately, many people have a cavalier attitude about infections and how to protect themselves and others, possibilty because it has been a long time, if ever, since the majority of us have been truly frightened about catching a disease. We have not seen corpses piled up in the streets due to deadly viruses; most of us have not seen pathogens kill our loved ones way too early.
But experience, especially painful experience, is a great educator. Without that, we need a more comprehensive plan. Cops tossing their protective gear into an open trash cannister is an example of education failure. Another example of failure can be seen in the movement to stop vaccinating our children. ~ Ilene
If you're following Valeant's proposed takeover (or merger) of Allergan and the lawsuit by Allergan against Valeant and notorious hedge fund manager William Ackman, for insider trading this is a must-read article.
Linette Lopez describes the roles played by key Wall Street hedge fund owners--Jim Chanos, John Paulson, and Mason Morfit, a major shareholder in Valeant. Linette goes through the con...
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 tou...
Last week brought even more stock market weakness and volatility as the selloff became self-perpetuating, with nobody mid-day on Wednesday wanting to be the last guy left holding equities. Hedge funds and other weak holders exacerbated the situation. But the extreme volatility and panic selling finally led some bulls (along with many corporate insiders) to summon a little backbone and buy into weakness, and the market finished the week on a high note, with continued momentum likely into the first part of this week.
Despite concerns about global economic growth and a persistent lack of inflation, especially given all the global quantitative easing, fundamentals for U.S. stocks still look good, and I believe this overdue correction ultimately will shape up to be a great buying opportunity -- i.e., th...
Now that bitcoin has subsided from speculative bubble to functioning currency (see the price chart below), it’s safe for non-speculators to explore the whole “cryptocurrency” thing. So…is bitcoin or one of its growing list of competitors a useful addition to the average person’s array of bank accounts and credit cards — or is it a replacement for most of those things? And how does one make this transition?
With his usual excellent timing, London-based financial writer/actor/stand-up comic Dominic Frisby has just released Bitcoin: The Future of Money? in which he explains all this in terms most readers will have no tr...
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Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
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