DAL - Delta Air Lines, Inc. – Options on the Atlanta, Georgia-based airline were among the most actively traded as measured by volume this morning after a large block of bearish puts changed hands in the first hour of the trading session. Shares in Delta Air Lines are sliding on a down day for the broader market, trading 4.0% lower at $9.15 as of 12:10 p.m. ET. Volume in Delta options was heaviest at the Dec. $8.0 strike, where upwards of 11,500 puts traded against previously existing open interest of 3,299 contracts. It looks like 9,110 of the $8.0 strike puts traded in a block and appear to have been purchased along with the remainder of the overall volume at a premium of $0.48 per contract. The sizable stake in DAL puts may represent outright bearish positioning on the airline through the end of the calendar year, or could be a hedge to protect the value of an existing position in the underlying shares. Profits, or downside protection, kick in if shares in Delta plunge 18% from the current price of $9.15 to breach the effective breakeven point at $7.52 by December expiration. Shares in Delta Air Lines, Inc. last traded below $7.52 in November 2011.
GES - Guess?, Inc. – Bulls buying front-month calls on Wednesday afternoon ahead of Guess, Inc.’s second-quarter earnings report were crushed today after the retailer revealed declining same-store sales and lowered estimates for full-year earnings and revenue. Shares in Guess reacted to the disappointing report by dropping 20% to an intraday low of $26.73. The largest increase in September expiration call option open interest overnight was in the $36 strike contracts, which rose by 904 lots to 1,406 contracts. A review of time and sales from Wednesday afternoon shows the purchase of approximately 850 of the Sep. $35 calls for a premium of $0.95 apiece just after 12:20 p.m. ET. Less than 24…
DELL - Dell, Inc. – Speculation that Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell, Inc., may buy the computer company or pay a special dividend lifted shares of the world’s third-largest PC maker this afternoon and spurred demand for out-of-the-money call options. Dell’s shares rallied nearly 3.00% today to touch an intraday high of $14.14, but are currently up 1.50% at $13.94 as of 3:05 p.m. Options traders honed in on October $14 strike calls, exchanging more than 23,100 of those contracts by 3:00 p.m., versus previously existing open interest of 10,783 calls at that strike. It looks like roughly 11,800 of those call options were purchased at an average premium of $0.21 a-pop. Call buyers make money if Dell’s shares exceed the average breakeven price of $14.21 by October expiration on Friday. Other optimistic signaling on the stock involved the sale of some 2,100 in-the-money puts at the October $14 strike where investors received an average premium of $0.34 per contract. Options implied volatility is up 15.2% to stand at 41.52% with less than one hour remaining before the final bell.
AGU - Agrium, Inc. – Shares of Canada’s second-largest fertilizer producer rallied as much as 3.2% today to reign in an intraday high of $85.66 after corn futures jumped to a near two-year high. Agrium was upgraded to ‘sector outperformer’ from ‘sector performer’ at CIBC World Markets where analysts upped their target share price on the company to $100.00 from $70.00. One options trader was prepared for the bullish move in the Agrium’s shares and opted to book profits, as well as extend optimism on the stock in the November contract. It looks like the investor purchased 10,000 calls at the November $85 strike for an average premium…
A lot of mail we get from people interested in our service had the question: "Are option trades as easy to follow as stock trades?"
I think the quick answer to that is yes for straight options and no for spreads but like many things that are worth doing, they are worth learning. I’m going to start a new teaching series here so we can analyze some trades after the fact as practice may make perfect but it also pays to go over our winners as well as our mistakes as finding out where we went right is as important as finding out where we went wrong. Trading has, of late, become much less about the merits of the particular stock and more about the timing of your entries as good stocks and bad stocks can move up and down 5% on any given day.
One of the things we like to do is watch for overbought sectors to short. We had been taking pot-shots at POT all week as it was really running away with itself and on Thursday I discussed with members how the whole sector was getting overbought and, in Friday morning’s post I said: "I advocate more shorts into the open if they insist on this ridiculous pre-market pump (down just .25% at 9 am), especially in the over-hyped Agriculture industry, which could not be up for stupider reasons," which neatly summarized my outlook on the sector.
We got exactly the pump action we wanted in the morning and I sent out a 10:34 Alert to Members, sensing that we were topping out on the run in the indexes and I recommended the following plays:
Big disconnect with DBA and AGU, MOS and POT now. It’s a little crazy to do a day trade but the POT $115 puts have .20 in premium at $6.10 and you can sell the $110 puts for $2 if it turns against you. I like the June $90 puts on them for $1.95, looking for $1 and rolling up if it goes the other way at .85 per $5.
AGU July $40 puts are $1.05. MOS $50 puts are a fun day trade for .10 but you need to get 3/4 out at .15 and leave the 1/4 or 1/2 out at .20 and 1/2 out at .30 if you get that lucky but consider the .10
The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends is out today. The March update for February came in at 91.3, down 2.7 points from the previous month's 94.1, ending a three-month string of improvement. Today's headline number has slumped to the 12.1 percentile in this series. Since its initial recovery following its Great Recession trough, this index has been stuck in an extremely volatile range for the past three years. Since January of 2011, it has repeatedly bumped a ceiling around the 94.5 level and then retreated.
Silver is spiking this morning (up over 2.3%) by its most in almost a month as the losses suffered post-Putin's press-conference are now largely retraced. Gold has broken back above pre-Putin levels and is trading back above $1,350 (holding above its 1-year average). Bonds, stocks, and the USD are all relatively flat this morning leaving one wondering whether the catalyst for this move is related to the Ukraine-gold rumors although we noted Swiss 2Y rates dropping once again as safe-havens are bid.
The EPI had an interesting chart and comments in its report The Vast Majority of the 5.8 Million Missing Workers Are Under Age 55. Since the start of the Great Recession over six years ago, labor force participation has dropped significantly. Most of the drop—roughly three-quarters—was due to the lack of job opportunities in the Great Recession and its aftermath. There are now 5.8 million workers who are not in the labor force but who would be if job opportunities were strong.
It is possible that some of these missing workers who are at or near retirement age have given up hope of...
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals (OTC: BAYRY) and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an Amgen subsidiary (Nasdaq: AMGN), today announced that a Phase 3 trial evaluating the investigational use of NEXAVAR® (sorafenib) tablets as an adjuvant treatment for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), or liver cancer, who had no detectable disease after surgical resection or local ablation, did not meet its primary endpoint of improving recurrence-free survival. The safety findings were consistent with the known profile of sorafenib. Data from this study will be submitted for presentation at an upcoming scientific congress.
"While the primary endpoint of this adjuvant trial was not met, Bayer and Onyx remain de...
Today was the beginning of “spring break” for the market. At least it seemed that way with a very low trading volume of only 600M shares on the NYSE. Either the college crowd does more trading than we imagined or parents are taking the week off as well.
The market barely woke up for the session with the S&P 500 down 0.05% and the NASDAQ down 0.03%. However, the DJI must have gotten extra sleep this weekend as it was up 0.21%. Small caps took a bigger hit with the Russell 2000 dropping nearly 0.50% percent. There was nothing major in the news other than a disappointing trading figure from China. Indeed, the whole week will only include a meager four major economic reports with Wholesale Inventories tomorrow, Retail Sales and Jobless Claims on Thursday, and Producer Price In...
The dramatic moves in fuel cell related stocks continues this week, with shares in Plug Power (Ticker: PLUG), FuelCell Energy (Ticker: FCEL) and Ballard Power Systems (Ticker: BLDP) beginning the trading week with explosive gains ahead of FuelCell Energy’s first-quarter earnings report after the closing bell, and following on the heels of a large order from Walmart for Plug Power, which the company confirmed in a press release on February 26th.
Shares in PLUG rose as much as 38% to touch $11.41 this afternoon, marking a near 150% move to the upside in the price of the underlying since Monday morning of last week when the stock opened at $4.60....
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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.
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Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.
And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014? The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.
As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...
Welcome to the fouth update of the IRA Virtual Portfolio. First I am going to summarize the current state of the Portfolio then I will get into all the activity we had during September expiration.
Profit and Loss – Net of closed positions the portfolio is up a total of $769
Market Commentary – Last expiration I said, "I would like to put a total of $20,000 to work by the end of SEP expiration. If the VIX pops up to around 20 I plan to put about $50,000 total to work." The market didn't quite reach the goal but I did manage to deploy $15,000 of buying power. I still feel the market is too high and expect a correction during October. If the vix pops up to around 20 I still plan to put about $50,000 to work. If a correction doesn't happen I still plan to have a total of $25,000 in buying power put to work by October expiration. Now on to the act...
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