by Option Review - March 25th, 2013 2:35 pm
Today’s tickers: APOL, DELL & ORCL
by Option Review - January 9th, 2013 2:26 pm
by Option Review - June 2nd, 2011 5:00 pm
Today’s tickers: BRCD, IP, APOL & DHI
BRCD - Brocade Communications Systems Inc. – Options volume is heavy in switcher-maker Brocade after a broker note predicted that it fits the bill for a bid from Dell. Shares in Brocade reached a 52-week high after the analyst noted that cash-rich Dell filed a debt-shelf earlier in the week of $3.4 billion or just about enough to buy Brocade if it wanted to change course and enter the networking market. One investor appeared to sell 11,400 put options expiring July at the $6.00 strike presumably on the assumption that its shares remain a hotbed of speculation for the next several weeks. The analyst’s note put a price tag on the stock of $10.00 underpinning a surge in the stock, which rose to $7.20 at the day’s best. Call options expiring next month were also well bid with the $8.00 strike proving most popular. Around 25,000 options granting the right to buy were exchanged with a current price of just 20 cents indicating a one-in-four chance of success over the next five weeks.
IP - International Paper – Notable activity in options on the paper-maker indicate one investor giving up on a good idea. Options volume of 20,935 on Thursday was made up of just two trades involving 10,000 lots each in what appears to be the closure of a losing calendar spread. On May 19 when shares in International Paper were trading one dollar higher than today at $31.67 an investor bought the same amount of call options expiring in July to buy calls expiring in January. The trade involved the $32 strike price in July and the $36 strike in January with the investor hoping for a steady climb in IP’s shares in the meantime. At the time the trade cost the…
by Option Review - January 7th, 2011 4:06 pm
Today’s tickers: XRT, APOL, VCI & MRVL
XRT - SPDR S&P Retail ETF – The retail sector may be poised for a pullback according to one options strategist who initiated a three-legged bearish combination spread using call and put options set to expire in March. Shares of the XRT, an exchange-traded fund designed to replicate the performance of the S&P Retail Select Industry Index, fell as much as 0.93% during the session thus far to touch an intraday low of $46.64. The three-legged bear sold out-of-the-money calls in order to partially offset the cost of buying a put spread. Legs of the spread include the sale of 7,500 calls at the March $51 strike for a premium of $0.40 each, purchase of 7,500 now in-the-money puts at the March $47 strike at a premium of $1.64 per contract, and the sale of 7,500 puts at the March $41 strike for premium of $0.42 apiece. The net cost of establishing the spread amounts to $0.82 per contract and positions the pessimistic player to profit should shares in the XRT decline another 1.00% from the current price to breach the breakeven point on the downside at $46.18 by March expiration. Maximum potential profits of $5.18 per contract are available to the investor in the event that XRT shares plummet 12.1% in the next couple of months to trade below $41.00 by expiration day. The outright bearish transaction contrasts with what appears to be a short straddle at the March $47 strike. It looks like the 3,500-lot short straddle provided the investor with gross premium of $3.87 per contract, which he keeps in full as long as shares settle at $47.00 at expiration day. The trader responsible for the short straddle could suffer devastating losses if the fund’s shares break out of the share price range dictated by the premium received, or buffer against losses through expiration. Losses start to accrue should shares rally above the upper breakeven point at $50.87, or if shares slip beneath the lower breakeven price of $43.13 before the contracts expire in March.…
by Option Review - August 26th, 2010 7:45 am
Today’s tickers: DSW, LNCR, VGZ, S, APOL, CAL & JCG
DSW – DSW, Inc. – Options traders are picking up put options on the footwear retailer ahead of the firm’s second-quarter earnings report, scheduled for release ahead of the opening bell on August 31, 2010. DSW’s shares fell 2.5% to $24.09 in late afternoon trading. Pessimistic players purchased approximately 3,400 put options at the October $22.5 strike for an average premium of $1.53 a-pop. Put buyers are poised to profit should DSW’s shares plummet 12.95% from the current price of $24.09 to breach the average breakeven point to the downside at $20.97 by expiration day in October. Options implied volatility on the stock is up 5.2% as of 3:30 pm ET.
LNCR – Lincare Holdings Inc. – The provider of oxygen and other respiratory therapy services popped up on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner today after bullish call buying was detected in the January 2011 contract. Lincare’s shares are up 0.50% to stand at $23.51 with just under 30 minutes remaining in the trading session. Investors positioning for substantial share price appreciation by expiration next year purchased roughly 1,100 calls at the January 2011 $27.5 strike for an average premium of $0.86 each. Call buyers at this strike make money if Lincare’s shares jump 20.6% to exceed the average breakeven price of $28.36 by expiration day. Bullishness spread to the higher January 2011 $30 strike where optimistic individuals scooped up more than 2,900 call options at an average premium of $0.45 apiece. Investors long the higher-strike contracts are prepared to accrue profits should LNCR’s shares surge 29.5% to trade above the effective breakeven price of $30.45 by expiration day next year. Lincare’s shares last traded above $30.45 back on July 1, 2010.
VGZ – Vista Gold Corp. – Bullish investors are mining for call options on the gold exploration and development company today, which suggests some traders expect Vista’s shares to head higher by the end of 2010. The Colorado-based company’s shares jumped 20.4% to touch an intraday high of $2.30. Investors in Vista Gold Corp. shares have had a fruitful month thus far. The stock is currently trading at a 76.9% premium over its July 28 low of $1.30 a share. Options strategists hoping to see the good times continue through to December expiration scooped up approximately 2,000 calls at the December $2.5 strike by shelling out…
by Option Review - July 19th, 2010 4:47 pm
Today’s tickers: APOL, ERTS, MMR, BAC & RIG
APOL – Apollo Group – A second day of gains for the online education company has shares touching $50 this morning. The start of July saw the company reach its 52-week low at $42.41. Option trading has centered on call options at the August $50 and $55 strikes but the picture is mixed. At the higher of the two strikes where only about 1,000 open positions exist, a chunk of 5,700 call options traded to the bid of 55 cents leading us to believe that this investor is raising his hand over the likelihood of exponential gains for the stock. This investor has either recently bought the stock in which case is writing a covered call, or is simply skeptical of a further 10% gain in Apollo’s share price from here. Buyers also showed up at the $50 strike expiring next month where buying rights to buy shares jumped from 13 cents to 56 cents. Call volume at the strike of almost 2,000 lots easily tops the prevailing open interest of 1,400 contracts.
ERTS – Electronic Arts – Despite a reduction in one the earnings projection from on analyst today, shares in the video gamer are higher at $14.91 possibly on account a groundswell of bullish call option activity. Investors awaiting an August 4 earnings report have spent premiums of around 40 cents to lock into bullish expectations in the event the company pulls off a decent report or perhaps a new title release in a dull climate for consumer demand. Option traders flocked to the August $16 strike, which currently shows odds of successfully landing in-the-money by expiration of one-in-three. Shares opened lower before today’s rally as call activity hit the screens. Options implied volatility has been on the rise of late and is again higher today by around 10% at 47%. That would indicate rising uncertainty surrounding prospects for the share price and is typical ahead of earnings.
MMR – McMoRan Exploration Co. – Investors didn’t stick around to ask many questions following the seventh consecutive quarterly loss at this oil and gas explorer. McMoRan specializes in ultra-deepwater exploration in search of oil and gas, which of course is not the most popular of investments targets following the Gulf of Mexico spill in April. McMoRan emphasized that it doesn’t operate in this segment but does operate in a high-risk operation…
by phil - July 2nd, 2010 8:23 am
Do I know what the jobs data will be at 8:30? Nope.
Then why would I title a post "Thank Jobs It’s Friday!" – what if the report sucks and we go down? Well, at this point, even if that does happen, I think that will be the end of it. We’ve been building up to this "terrible" jobs number all week and we got a rotten ADP Report and a rotten Unemployment Report so everyone is expecting a rotten Non-Farm Payroll report. When everyone expects the same thing, we like to bet against it. Sometimes we’re wrong and sometimes we’re right but you make some amazing money when you are right. The magnitude of the short squeeze that would follow a significantly BTE NFP Report could send up up 300 points or more on the day, likely with a big finish this afternoon and some follow-through on Tuesday as the rest of the world plays catch-up.
A bad report, on the other hand, is already baked into the cake and we have yet to test S&P 1,000 so we can expect support there. It wouldn’t be pleasant, but we should be able to scramble and protect ourselves if we head lower so the smart move is to play for the mega-move higher, and that’s where we are. Of course, it’s also a balance issue. In our last Weekly Wrap-Up, we had the following open trade ideas going into June 21st (we had gotten bearish at the end of the previous week):
- APOL July $40 puts spread at .46, now .60 – up 30%
- BBY Jan $37 puts sold for $4, now $3 – up 25%
- BP July $30/32 bull call spread at $1, now .70 – down 30%
- YRCW at .21, now .15 – down 28%
- BP Oct $33/July $33 ratio backspread (3:5) at net $225, now $524 – up 132%
- TZA July $7 calls .08 (net of spread), now $1.50 – up 1,775%
- SIRI 2012 $1 puts sold at .33, still .33 – even
- USO July $33 puts at .51, now $1.08 – up 131%
- GLL July $37 puts, sold for $1.30, now .35 – up 70%
- TBT July $38 puts sold for $1, now $2.05 – down 105%
- OIH June $104.10 puts at $2.02, now $8.70 – up 330%
- TZA July $6/8 bull call spread for .55, now $1.48 – up 169%
- TZA July $6 puts sold for
by phil - June 19th, 2010 6:46 am
What a fine and predictable week it was!
How can you not have fun when the market does exactly what you expect it to do every day? Why it’s almost as if we stole Goldman Sach’s evil playbook (and the Russell once again is at 666) so we too can make profits EVERY SINGLE TRADING DAY – just like they do! This is a real testament to my famous saying:
We don’t care IF the game is rigged, as long as we know HOW it is rigged so we can place our bets accordingly.
Remember it was last summer that Goldman’s secret trading program was stolen. At the time, Goldman Sachs asserted that: "There is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways." I believe this was a misquote and what GS meant to say was that there was a danger someone ELSE could use it to manipulate the markets in unfair ways. Was it just a coincidence that the indictment of computer thief Sergey Aleynikov on Feb 11th coincided with the beginning of this year’s massive rally or was that the day GS regained sole control of their pet program?
Does this sound conspiratorial? Well perhaps then you haven’t read Tim Lavin’s "Monsters in the Markets," where he points out: "Algorithms now trigger 70 percent of all trades in U.S. equities. The speed and volume of everyday trading have propelled the market into a new and esoteric dimension, and rendered traders in the pits largely obsolete… At least a few high-frequency traders have learned to make a killing by detecting the more simplistic algo strategies deployed by basic pension funds and mutual funds, buying the next stock the funds plan to buy, and then selling it to them at a higher price. This may not be illegal, but it’s almost certainly unfair to the funds’ investors. “It is increasingly clear that there are quite a number of high-frequency bandits in the high- frequency-trading community who pump up volume statistics, front-run investor orders, increase transaction costs, and hurt real liquidity,” according to former NASDAQ vice-chairman David Weild."
We certainly know better than to trust our money to fund managers! Last Friday ("Pattern Recognition 101"), we determined that the TradeBots were following the rally pattern we now call Omega III and that meant we expected the day to finish…
by phil - January 5th, 2010 8:27 am
Wow – what a lot of work to get back to last Tuesday’s high!
As usual, the vast majority of gains came in pre-market trading and the rest came in light-volume, early morning trading while the rest of the day was dominated by every buyer finding a willing seller for 75% of the day’s volume. We saw what happened on Thursday when someone big wants to sell and there are no buyers so we’ll see how long the bull’s luck (manufactured or otherwise) will hold out as we begin to get economic data along with some early earnings reports.
The Ag sector popped 2% yesterday ahead of tonight’s earings from MOS with MON checking in tomorrow morning so we’ll see how wise those last-minute bets were in short order. SONC also has earnings tonight and we like those guys long-term. SONC makes a decent buy/write candidate as you can buy the stock for $10.29 and sell June $10 puts and calls for $2.25 for a net entry of $8.04 with a very nice 24% profit if called away at $10 and an average entry of $9.02 (a 12% discount) if more stock is put to you below $10 in June.
FDO and WOR also report tomorrow morning. FDO will be interesting but a weak dollar probably hurt them last quarter. Tomorrow night we hear from BBBY, BLUD, OHB and Sonic competitor RT, who seem a bit pricey at $7.50. Thursday we get our first real builder, LEN along with STZ and TXI. After the bell on Thursday we hear from APOL, CRI and SCHN with GBX and PSMT on Friday. AA officially kicks of earnings season next Monday with GAP, INFY, KBH, BGG, SCHW, SHFL, INTC and JPM highlighting the reporters.
We have plenty of data this week including Factory Orders and Pending Home Sales at 10 am along with December Auto Sales throughout the day (did you get a new car for Christmas?). Tomorrow is jobs day, with the ADP Report and Challenger Job Cuts ahead of the bell followed by ISM Services (yesterday’s ISM was a nice beat) and, of course, Crude Inventories at 10:30 which are unlikely to sustain $82 oil (USO Jan $40 puts for .80 are a good way to play this). We talked about the other stuff yesterday so I won’t repeat it – suffice to say we have plenty of data this week to see if we justify these lofty levels.
by Option Review - April 7th, 2009 6:43 pm
Today’s tickers: JAVA, APOL, EWZ, EMR, BBBY, WYNN, CSCO, CBG, GE & AA
JAVA Sun Microsystems, Inc. – Shares continue to slide for the second day after JAVA allegedly rejected IBM’s offer of $9.40 per share because it was too low. Currently, shares have declined by more than 4.5% to $6.26. A couple of contrasting trades caught our attention as one investor played the downside and another looked for upside movement in shares. In the May contract it appears that a ratio put spread was initiated with the sale of 22,000 puts at the May 5.0 strike for 46 cents each spread against the purchase of 11,000 puts at the May 6.0 strike for 89 cents apiece. The investor receives a credit of 3 cents for initiating this trade and stands to make a maximum profit of 103 cents if shares decline to $5.00 by expiration, but would burst apart at the seams should Sun’s shares breach $3.97. Further along in the October contract, a trader hoping to see JAVA rebound put on a bullish call spread which was partially funded by the sale of put options. At the October 5.0 strike price 10,000 puts were sold for a premium of 80 cents apiece. Meanwhile, a bull call spread was established via the purchase of 10,000 calls at the October 7.0 strike for 1.15 each and spread against the sale of 10,000 calls at the October 9.0 strike price for a premium of 40 cents apiece. This optimistic strategy yields the investor a 5 cent credit because the premium enjoyed on the sale of the put options and the sale of the higher strike calls more than offsets the cost of the October 7.0 strike call options. If shares can rally to $9.00 by expiration this fall, the investor stands to gain a maximum profit of 2.00 on the call spread plus the 5 cent premium. The two trades indicate bearishness in the near-term and bullishness as we head towards the concluding months of 2009.
APOL Apollo Group, Inc. – A provider of higher education to working adults, Apollo Group has experienced a 9% drop in shares to $63.17. Apollo’s share price slipped last week after the company warned that its profit margins would likely fail to meet analyst expectations. The recent share price erosion appears to be too severe as APOL still forecasts that it will achieve a 24%…