Shares in packaged foods producer Kellogg Co. (Ticker: K) are in positive territory on Monday afternoon, trading up by roughly 0.20% at $65.48 as of 2:20 p.m. ET. Options volume on the stock is well above average levels today, with around 12,500 contracts traded on the name versus an average daily reading of around 1,700 contracts. Most of the volume is concentrated in September expiry calls, perhaps ahead of the company’s second-quarter earnings report set for release ahead of the opening bell on Thursday. Time and sales data suggests traders are snapping up calls at the Sep 67.5, 70.0 and 72.5 strikes. Volume is heaviest in the Sep 72.5 strike calls, with around 4,600 contracts traded against sizable open interest of approximately 11,800 contracts. It looks like traders paid an average premium of $0.37 per contract for the 72.5 strike calls, which may be a profitable trade at expiration in September in the event that Kellogg shares rally 11% over the current price to exceed the average breakeven point at $72.87. Shares in Kellogg traded up to a 52-week high of $69.50 in June, but have not traded above $72.87 since August of 1997. The concentration of trading traffic in September expiry calls on Kellogg today has pushed the call/put ratio on the name to roughly 6.5 this afternoon.
Volume in Starbucks options is running approximately three times the average daily level for the stock as of 1:15 p.m. ET ahead of the company’s third-quarter earnings report after the close. Shares in the name are up roughly 1.0% just before midday to stand at $79.95. Traders of SBUX options today are more active in calls than puts, with the call/put ratio hovering near 2.0 as of the time of this writing. Much of the volume is in 25Jul’14 expiry options contracts, most notably in the $80 and $83 strike calls which have traded roughly 3,350 and 2,550 times respectively and in excess of existing open interest levels in both strikes. A portion of the volume in the $80 and $83 calls appears to be part of a spread trade.
A large call spread initiated on Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (Ticker: OREX) on Monday morning looks for shares in the name to rally approximately 30% by September expiration. The September expiration is noteworthy as the company awaits the results of the FDA’s review of its resubmitted New Drug Application (NDA) for NB32, an investigational medication being evaluated for weight loss, after the review was extended for three months back in June. The upcoming Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) date is September 11, 2014, according to a press release issued by the company. Shares in Orexigen today are up roughly 0.40% at $5.34 as of 2:15 p.m. ET.
The largest trade in OREX options today appears to be the purchase of a 10,000-lot Sep 5.0/7.0 call spread at a net premium of $0.72 per contract. The spread positions the investor to make money above an effective breakeven price of $5.72, with maximum potential profits of $1.28 per contract available on the spread in the event that OREX shares rally 31.0% over the current price to hit $7.00 at expiration. Shares in Orexigen last traded above $7.00 on June 10th.
Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. (Ticker: DNKN) put options are active on Friday as shares slip on a downgrade to “Neutral” from “Buy” (with a 12-month target price of $45.00) at Janney Montgomery, and perhaps ahead of the company’s second-quarter earnings report next Thursday. Shares in the name are down 1.2% just before midday to stand at $43.36 and off the lows of the session. The stock has dropped nearly 20% since reaching a 52-week high of $53.05 in March.
The most traded contracts on DNKN today are the Aug 40.0 strike put options, with nearly 5,700 contracts in play against open interest of just 452 contracts. Most of the volume appears to have been purchased in the first hour of the trading session at a premium of $0.52 per contract, perhaps by an investor seeking to hedge a long position in the shares or as a means to speculate on bearish price action following the company’s earnings release next week. The put options may be profitable at expiration if shares in the operator of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins restaurants drop roughly 9.0% from the current price of $43.36.
U.S. stocks are rallying on the final trading day of the week, rebounding somewhat from Thursday’s selloff in the wake of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash in Ukraine and escalation of fighting in Gaza. The S&P 500 Index is higher by 0.65% at 1970.50 as of the time of this writing. Outperforming that Index today is U.S. Steel Corp. (Ticker: X), though the largest U.S. metal producer by volume is no longer in the S&P 500 Index, having been replaced by Martin Marietta Materials Inc. (Ticker: MLM) and added to the S&P MidCap 400 Index on July 1st. Shares in U.S. Steel are up better than 3.5% to stand at $27.55 as of 11:25 a.m. ET.
The metal producer’s shares have had a strong summer so far, with the price of the underlying up more than 20% since the beginning of June, and more than 60% since August of 2013. Options trading on the stock today suggests one or more traders are positioning for the shares to continue to rally in the week prior to the company’s second-quarter earnings report on July 29th. It looks like more than 3,000 of the 25Jul’14 29.0 strike calls were purchased this morning at an average premium of $0.12 per contract. Buyers of the 29.0 strike calls stand ready to profit at expiration next week in the event that U.S. Steel shares rally another 6.0% over the current price of $27.55 to exceed the average breakeven point at $29.12.
A ratio call spread initiated on Microsoft Corp. (Ticker: MSFT) on Wednesday (July 16) suggests one big options market participant may be looking for shares in the software company to extend gains after the firm reports earnings on July 22nd. The stock jumped on Wednesday and is up again today after the company reported it will cut up to 18,000 jobs over the next year. The stock is currently up more than 3.0% at $45.54 as of 9:35 a.m. ET. The trader yesterday appeared to have sold 20,890 of the 15Aug’14 43.0 strike calls at a premium of around $1.04 each in order to buy roughly 3.3 times as many (68,899 contracts) of the higher 15Aug’14 45.0 strike calls at a premium of $0.34 apiece. The trade cost a little more than one nickel per contract to put on and positions the trader to make money if shares blow through the $46.00-level by expiration. The complexity of the ratio spread and the sale of in-the-money call options suggests the strategist may have a position in the stock, though the options trade itself was not tied to stock according to data available at the time of the transaction.
Shares in International Game Technology (Ticker: IGT) jumped more than 9.0% to a near six-month high of $17.00 on Wednesday morning after Italian company GTECH S.p.A. agreed to acquire the maker of slot machines for around $4.7B in cash and stock and the assumption of $1.7B in net debt. According to a joint press release issued by the companies, IGT and GTECH will combine to form a new holding company (NewCo) in the UK.
The sharp move in the share price and effective floor on the price of the underlying following the deal may be boon for one large options market participant who appears to have sold roughly 100,000 of the Aug 13.0 strike put options on IGT last Tuesday at a premium of $0.20 each. The put seller pocketed $2 million in premium by selling the contracts and keeps the full amount of premium in the event the August expiry puts expire worthless with shares above $13.00 next month. Terms of the deal provide IGT shareholders with an aggregate value of $18.25 per IGT share, comprising $13.69 in cash plus 0.1819 ordinary share of NewCo, and well above the $13.00 striking price on the sold put options. Open interest in the contracts currently stands 92,415 contracts and the largest of any series available on IGT.
Chart – Heavy volume in Aug 15 ’14 13.0 strike puts on 7/08/14
Options on Amazon.com, Inc. (Ticker: AMZN) are seeing heavy volume on the final trading session of the week amid strong gains in the price of the stock, which is currently up more than 4.0% on the day at $342.09 and the highest level since April. At last check, more than 127,000 options contracts have changed hands on Amazon or twice the stock’s average daily options volume of around 63,100 contracts. Call options are more active than puts as of the time of this writing, with the call/put ratio hovering near 1.33 just before midday in New York. The bulk of the volume is in the 11Jul’14 weekly options currently in their final day of trading prior to expiration, and in the 18Jul’14 expiry calls and puts. Amazon.com reports second-quarter earnings after the close of trading on July 24th.
Investors in Potbelly Corp. (Ticker: PBPB) suffered a swift kick to the gut on Thursday with shares in the name plunging 25% to $10.95 after the company’s annual profit and quarterly revenue forecast came in lower than analysts’ estimates. U.S. stocks opened sharply lower, but are well off the lows of the session with the S&P 500 Index down roughly 0.30% at 1,967 as of 2:15 p.m. ET after earlier dipping to as low as 1,951.72 near the open.
Trading in Potbelly put options on Wednesday signaled at least one trader was bracing for sizable declines in the price of the underlying shares during the next few months. The most traded contracts on PBPB yesterday were the Oct 12.5 strike puts. All told, it looks like approximately 3,000 of the 12.5 strike puts were purchased yesterday afternoon for an average premium of $0.58 each. The move in the stock price since the bearish position was initiated pushed premium on the now in-the-money put options skyward. At last check premium required to purchase the Oct 12.5 strike put is hovering around $2.05 per contract.
The most traded contracts by volume on Potbelly today look for longer-term recovery in the price of the underlying stock. Approximately 1,000 of the Jan ’15 10.0 strike calls have traded against open interest of just 30 contracts. Time and sales data indicates most of the volume was purchased at a premium of $2.25 each. Buyers of the 10.0 strike calls may profit at expiration in the event that shares in PBPB rally 11% over the current price of $11.02 to exceed the breakeven price of $12.25 by January expiration.
Call spreads trading on Electronic Arts Inc. (Ticker: EA) today look for shares in the videogame and digital entertainment company to rocket to fresh multi-year highs during the next couple of months. Shares in Electronic Arts are up 1.0% on the day at $35.65 as of 1:20 p.m. ET.
It looks like roughly 10,000 of the Sep 37.0/41.0 call spread was purchased during the first half of the trading session at a net premium of $1.00 each. The strategy starts making money if shares in EA rally more than 6.0% over the current level to exceed the breakeven price of $38.00 and reaps maximum possible gains of $3.00 per contract in the event the stock soars 15% to $41.00 by September expiration. Electronic Arts is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings after the closing bell on July 22nd. Shares in EA are down roughly 4.0% off a 52-week high of $37.26 reached in June, but is up roughly 50% since this time last year.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
US and European financials faded notably after Europe and then US unveiled new sanctions against Russia today. Most notably, the decision to sanction Russia's largest banks (and ban trading and capital markets access) has ramifications for the global financial system's stability given the increasingly inter-connected nature of the world. For that reason, we thought Bloomberg Briefs' chart of the most exposed banking systems by nation to any systemic issues in Russia would be useful.
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I have discussed for some time that there are a couple of inherent misunderstandings about the Federal Reserve's ending of the current large-scale asset purchase program (LSAP), or more affectionately known as Quantitative Easing (QE). The first is "tapering is not tightening" and the second is "interest rates will rise." Let me explain.
The Federal Reserve has been running extremely "accommodative" monetary policies since the end 2008. The two primary goals of the Federal Reserve have been to artificially suppress interest rates and boost asset prices in "hopes" that an organic economic recovery would take root. As I quoted in "How E...
As usual, the Conference Board and all the major media press release repeaters put a positive spin on the highest reading of Consumer Confidence (aka the Con Con Con) since October 2007. None of the media echo chamber reports pointed out that October 2007 was the beginning of the worst bear market in US stocks since 1973-74. So I thought it important that the issue be given a little perspective (as I did recently with the Thompson Rhoiders Michigan Con Index).
First things first, the Con Con Con is an amalgamation of the results of two survey questions presented to “consumers” (aka real people). One question asks...
Shares in packaged foods producer Kellogg Co. (Ticker: K) are in positive territory on Monday afternoon, trading up by roughly 0.20% at $65.48 as of 2:20 p.m. ET. Options volume on the stock is well above average levels today, with around 12,500 contracts traded on the name versus an average daily reading of around 1,700 contracts. Most of the volume is concentrated in September expiry calls, perhaps ahead of the company’s second-quarter earnings report set for release ahead of the opening bell on Thursday. Time and sales data suggests traders are snapping up calls at the Sep 67.5, 70.0 and 72.5 strikes. Volume is heaviest in the Sep 72.5 strike calls, with around 4,600 contracts traded against sizable open interest of approximately 11,800 contracts. It looks like traders paid an average premium of $0.37 per contrac...
Once again, stocks have shown some inkling of weakness. But every other time for almost three years running, the bears have failed to pile on and get a real correction in gear. Will this time be different? Bulls are almost daring them to try it, putting forth their best Dirty Harry impression: “Go ahead, make my day.” Despite weak or neutral charts and moderately bullish (at best) sector rankings, the trend is definitely on the side of the bulls, not to mention the bears’ neurotic skittishness about emerging into the sunlight.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, incl...
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We tried holding up stock prices but couldn’t get the job done. Market Shadows’ Virtual Value Portfolio dipped by 2% during the week but still holds on to a market-beating 8.45% gain YTD. There was no escaping the downdraft after a major Portuguese bank failed. Of all the triggers for a large selloff, I’d guess the Portuguese bank failure was pretty far down most people's list of "things to worry about."
All three major indices gave up some ground with the Nasdaq composite taking the hardest hi...
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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...
I just wanted to be sure you saw this. There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.
If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.
Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.
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