by Option Review - January 31st, 2012 2:05 pm
Today’s tickers: BP, RSH, FTI & MYGN
BP - BP PLC – Far out-of-the-money call options on BP saw heavier-than-usual activity on Tuesday afternoon, with shares in the oil company trading up 1.3% at $44.70 as of 12:30 p.m. in New York. Fresh prints in March expiry calls may represent low-cost, low-probability bullish bets that shares in BP will rally sharply by expiration. BP is scheduled to release fourth-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell on February 7, one week from today. Options traders exchanged more than 3,000 call options at the Mar. $49 strike against open interest of 621 contracts. The majority of the calls appear to have been purchased for an average premium of $0.22 apiece. Like-minded strategists snapped up some 3,500 calls at the higher Mar. $50 strike at an average premium of $0.11 each. Investors long the calls may profit at expiration in March in the event that BP’s shares soar 10.1% and 12.1% to exceed average breakeven prices of $49.22 and $50.11, respectively. Overall trading in BP options players are heavily favoring calls on the name over puts today, with more than 4.2 calls changing hands on the stock for each single put option in early-afternoon trade.
RSH - RadioShack Corp. – Shares in consumer electronics retailer, RadioShack Corp., plunged 30.0% to $7.15 on Tuesday after the Company revealed lower-than-anticipated preliminary fourth-quarter earnings and suspended stock buybacks. The breath-taking drop in the price of the underlying shares spurred some options traders to ready themselves for a potential rebound in the next few weeks. Call buyers looked to the Feb. $7.0, $8.0 and $9.0 strike calls, buying around 1,600, 3,200 and 235 contracts at each strike, respectively, this morning. Investors long the calls may have picked up the…
by phil - January 13th, 2012 8:05 am
Happy Friday the 13th!
Will the market's luck change today or will we break through the mirror at 1,297 on the S&P which could spell 7 years of bad luck for the bears (or maybe 7 weeks).
Surly Trader has a chart (see Phil's Favorites) that says only 9% of the S&Ps sales come from Europe, which means we really shouldn't care so much what they do but he also has a frightening chart of the Baltic Dry Index, which has fallen off a cliff since mid December and that matches up with this terrifying collapse in Rail Traffic that started earlier and also isn't finished.
The last time intermodal traffic dipped to this level, we were in denial that we were in a Recession and indeed the Dow continued to march from 11,500 in January of 2008 all the way to just above 13,000 in May before it began the long march to 6,600.
Of course, a pessimist may say that by the time traffic had dropped this badly, it was December and the Dow ars already at 8,000 or an even bigger pessimist may point out that, since these are year over year comparisons, that we've never even recovered the original 20% drop and now we're down again and worst than we were at the time.
But I don't like to be a pessimist so I'll just quote David Fry, who titled yesterday's post: "Bulls Blind to Bad Data Once Again," noting:
In the eurozone today ECB president Draghi decided the best defense is a good offense and cleverly spun a yarn that his policies are working. Draghi further states that “interest rates will remain low for an extended period”…where have we heard this before? This statement caused the euro to rally about 1% on the day perhaps squeezing some shorts.
by Option Review - October 24th, 2011 1:33 pm
Today’s tickers: BA, AEO, BP & TOT
BA - The Boeing Co. – Weekly put options covering the commercial airline manufacturer are active ahead of Boeing’s third-quarter earnings report ahead of the opening bell on Wednesday. Shares in Boeing rallied earlier this morning, but have since turned negative to stand 0.20% lower on the session at $64.46 as of 11:25 am EDT. Put players may be picking up downside protection ahead of the earnings release should the report fail disappoint at mid-week. Traders purchased nearly 500 in-the-money puts at the Oct.’28 $65 strike for an average premium of $1.63 each, and picked up some 2,000 puts at the Oct.’28 $62.5 strike at an average premium of $0.78 apiece. Put volume at each strike is far exceeds open interest levels. Investors long the contracts may profit at expiration day if BA’s shares trade below the average breakeven prices of $63.37 and $61.72, respectively. Meanwhile, traders doubting the stock will tank on the earnings report, sold 2,196 puts at the Oct.’28 $57.5 strike to pocket premium of $0.11 per contract. Put sellers keep the premium received on the transaction as long as shares in The Boeing Company top $57.50 at expiration day this week. Traders short the puts could wind up having shares of the underlying put to them at expiration should the stock drop 10.8% from the current price of $64.46 to trade below the $57.50 strike price.
AEO - American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. – Call options on American Eagle Outfitters are on-trend with investors positioning for shares in the teen retailer to rally during the next four weeks to November expiration. American Eagle is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings ahead of the open on November 17. Shares in AEO are currently up 3.1% at $13.40 as of 11:10 am in New York. Call buying and put selling in the front month ensued within minutes of the morning bell. Investors expecting shares in the apparel and accessories retailer to increase snapped up roughly 1,800 calls at the Nov. $14 strike for an average premium of $0.46 each. Trading traffic in near-term calls was heaviest at the Nov. $15 strike, where more than 8,900 contracts changed hands against open interest of 4,829 positions. It looks like most of the Nov. $15 strike calls were purchased for an average premium of $0.22 apiece. Call buyers profit at expiration in the event that AEO’s shares surge 13.6% to…
by Option Review - October 21st, 2011 3:01 pm
Today’s tickers: BP, TOT, CHS, CJES & ANF
BP & TOT - BP PLC & Total SA – Intriguing activity in call options covering Europe’s second- and third-largest oil companies, BP and Total, carried over from Thursday’s trading day to the final session of the week. Shares in both companies are up on the day, with BP gaining 1.8% to $42.07, and Total rising 1.1% to $52.36, by 12:35 pm EDT. Yesterday we noted one strategist’s dispersion trade; selling calls on Total and buying calls on BP, in a position that seemed to suggest fruitful months ahead for BP and less-stellar share price performance at Total.
News out on BP today may support such bullish sentiment. The company was reportedly granted approval by U.S. regulators to once again engage in oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, its first such approval since the company’s disastrous offshore spill in 2010. BP is slated to report its performance for the third quarter ahead of the opening bell on October 25, while Total reveals its numbers pre-market on October 28.
The call activity in both names this morning is almost identical to that observed on Thursday. It looks like the investor sold some 7,600 Total calls at the May 2012 $55 strike for a premium of $3.30 each, and purchased around 8,400 calls on BP at the April $44 strike for a premium of $2.89 apiece. The strategist walks away with the full amount of premium received for writing the TOT call options as long as shares in the French oil company fail to exceed $55.00 at expiration in May. Meanwhile, profits may be available on the long BP call options should shares in the name rally another 11.5% to surpass the effective breakeven price of $46.89 by expiration in April 2012. Options implied volatility readings on both stocks are down roughly 6.0% as of 12:50 pm in New York.
CHS - Chico’s FAS, Inc. – Bullish options players have taken a shine to the retailer of private-branded apparel and accessories today, with shares in the Fort Myers, Florida-based company rallying 2.25% to $12.35 on a risk-on day for U.S. equities. Investors positioning for Chico’s shares to extend gains snapped up call options in the November contract. The most heavily populated option is the Nov. $14 strike call, which changed hands upward of 4,700 times in the first half of the session against open interest of 653 contracts. Options…
by Option Review - October 20th, 2011 3:14 pm
Today’s tickers: GMCR, TOT, BP, MSFT & OSK
GMCR - Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. – Shares in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters turned positive earlier in the session, but are now continuing to unravel on the heels of a roughly 25.0% decline in price since hedge fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital presented analysis of the coffee company at an investor conference on Monday. Over the past month, the stock has fallen as much as 45.0% to touch today’s intraday low of $63.26 since reaching the September 20, 52-week high of $115.98. Frenzied trading in GMCR options continues today, following similarly active sessions earlier in the week. Investors are exchanging calls and puts in relatively equal numbers, with puts outpacing calls slightly in early-afternoon trade.
The front month garnered the most attention from options players placing short-term bets on the stock ahead of expiration at the end of the week. Investors hoping the stock has reached a bottom appear to have purchased in- and out-of-the-money calls, and sold puts. Meanwhile, concerned parties wary the stock could extend losses snapped up puts. The bears bought around 1,100 puts at the Oct. $55 strike for an average premium of $1.09 each. These deep out-of-the-money put options may expire worthless at expiration if shares in GMCR fail to drop sharply by the end of the trading week. But, the puts could provide quick profits for some traders if premium on the contracts rises with either volatility or further declines in the price of the underlying. The most active put on Green Mountain is the Oct. $65 strike, where nearly 6,000 puts changed hands against open interest of 1,539 positions. Trading patterns in the puts reveal mixed opinion.
Investors itching for a quick rebound in GMCR purchased October contract calls. More than 7,000 calls have traded at each of the Oct. $70 and $75 strikes. While both buyers and sellers drove volume in the contracts, there does appear to be somewhat of a bullish bias thus far today. Traders long the calls may profit at expiration should the week wrap up with shares in Green Mountain back on track. Overall volume in GMCR options is just under 100,000 contracts as of 2:10 pm on the East Coast.
by Option Review - May 31st, 2011 4:17 pm
Today’s tickers: LDK, BP, ASH & VIA
LDK - LDK Solar Co. Ltd. – The prospects look brighter for solar panel maker according to its president who told Taiwanese electronics website DigiTimes that the industry hit its low point in the first quarter. LDK’s chief also told the website not only to expect a second-quarter rebound but that the industry was not playing out investors’ currently pessimistic scenario. Adding fuel to a rally across shares in the renewable energy sector was confirmation from Germany that its last nuclear power station would close in 2022. One investor struck to make a bullish play on LDK by writing put options expiring in less than three weeks raking in a total premium of $145,000. The investor sold 5,000 put options for 29 cents apiece guaranteeing to take delivery of 50,000 shares at $7.00 each by June 17. Just two weeks ago LDK’s share price meaningfully breached $10.00 for the first time since September on fears for earnings across the industry. Last week they traded as low as $6.14 before today’s rally took hold and kicked them back to as high as $7.24. Currently the speculative strategy is an at-the-money investment, but by taking in the 29 cent premium the investor is effectively lowering his buy price to $6.71 and presumably is banking on June 7 earnings to help vilify his stance.
BP - BP Plc – Shares in Europe’s second-largest oil company have performed strongly in recent weeks, shrugging off a disastrous outcome with its Russian subsidiary that left it floundering without an expansion policy. Nevertheless investors have warmed to recent news of possibly less financial liability resulting from the Gulf of Mexico spillage one year ago. Shares reached the highest since May 2 on Tuesday in early going although have pared gains throughout…
by phil - January 21st, 2011 8:22 am
This is fun, right?
We had a nice opportunity to buy the F’ing dip yesterday as well as an interesting opportunity to test the prudishness of the hundreds or web sites that syndicate my articles as I saw every possible variation of "F’ing" popping up in titles that were pinged back to me. Social mores aside the move was so well telegraphed that we were able to take a non-greedy exit on our QID position – leaving us, thankfully, with just the DIA shorts in our $10,000 Virtual Portfolio. That means, we are going to be able to start our brand new $25,000-$100,000 Virtual Portfolio right on schedule next week.
We began "Turning $10,000 into $50,000 by January 21st" on June 11th and we’re not done yet but we’re well over $30,000 – even looking at our wrong-way (so far) short bet on the Dow. We could have killed that one yesterday as well but, as today’s title says – we just have to give the old Alpha 2 a chance to fully play out as we would just hate ourselves if we get get that 500-point drop in the Dow right after we bail on the shorts as that would be our $50K right there!
So up only 200% or so in 7 months is a failure but, to be fair, we did take a couple of months off as I didn’t like the market enough in October and November and we already had $26,000 so it didn’t seem worth risking 260% to make another 100%. In the final month, we decided to "go for it" but it was a messy way to make another 20% as our overall premise – that a drop was "right around the corner" simply did not pan out.
Frankly, looking back at the original 5 picks makes me want to cry as we could have just left those on the table and gone on vacation! They were:
- 10,000 YRCW at .21 (we doubled down at .11), now $3.76, up $35,500 (a Bazillion percent, I think but there was a reverse split…)
- 20 C Dec $3/4 bull call spreads at .62, closed at $1, up $760 (up 61%)
- 20 short C Dec $4 puts at $1.08, close at $0, up $2,160 (up 100%)
- 20 TASR Jan $5/7.50 bull call spreads for .35, now $0, down $700 (down 100%)
by Option Review - January 14th, 2011 4:26 pm
Today’s tickers: BP, WFT, ITT, AMR, OLN, VRGY & NANO
BP - BP PLC – Options volume, options implied volatility and the value of shares in BP are on the rise ahead of a press conference in which the oil company will reportedly shed light on a possible deal with the Russian state-controlled oil company, Rosneft. Volume in options traded on BP is fast approaching 270,000 in the final 30 minutes of the session, with shares in the name having rallied as much as 4.1% to touch an intraday- and more than 6-month high of $49.50. The overall reading of options implied volatility on the stock continues to climb as well, currently standing 30.1% higher on the session at 30.16% as of 2:55pm. Investors populating BP options are trading call options on the stock more than 2.2 times for each single put option in action. Trading traffic in calls is heaviest at the January $50 strike where more than 18,600 contracts have changed hands. Investors were also seen buying higher-strike calls in the name, with 12,500 calls exchanged at the January $52.5 strike on open interest of just 3,834 lots. The majority of these call options traded on the ask for an average premium of $0.18 each. Bullishness spread to the higher January $55 strike where more than 4,500 calls were picked up at an average premium of $0.05 a-pop. Similar buying patterns were observed in February contract calls, albeit at lower volume. Meanwhile, put options expiring at the end of next week received a good deal of traffic as well. More than 26,500 puts changed hands at the January $47 strike, versus previously existing open interest of just 4,401 contracts. Investors appear to be buying the puts, perhaps to lock in gains, hedge a long position in the underlying shares, or to speculate on a near-term pullback in the price of the underlying. Upwards of 13,100 puts were bought and sold in roughly equal numbers at the closer-to-the-money January $48 strike ahead of the closing bell.…
by Option Review - January 5th, 2011 4:58 pm
Today’s tickers: TJX, TIVO, BP, CSC, ANF, GT & OCR
TJX - TJX Companies, Inc. – Near-term bullish options traders are betting on a rebound in shares of the operator of the largest off-price retail chains, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, by picking up call options in the January contract this afternoon. Shares in TJX Companies fell 1.30% in the final hour of the session to $43.01, recovering off an earlier intraday low of $42.55. TJX shares are down 4.0% since December 30, and have lost a total of 8.9% since November 5, 2010, when shares touched a 6-month high of $47.21. Investors positioning for a rally in TJX Companies are perhaps hopeful shares will rebound following the release of December same-store sales data. Optimistic traders scooped up more than 2,600 calls at the January $44 strike for an average premium of $0.49 apiece. Call buyers at this strike stand ready to accrue profits should shares rise 3.4% to exceed the average breakeven price of $44.49 ahead of January expiration. Bullish sentiment spread to the higher January $45 strike where nearly 1,000 call options were purchased at an average premium of $0.24 a-pop. Higher-strike call buyers make money if TJX shares rally 5.2% to trade above the average breakeven point at $45.24 before the contracts expire in a couple of weeks.
TIVO - TiVo, Inc. – Massive prints in deep out-of-the-money call options on TiVo today appear to be the work of outright bullish players speculating that shares in the television technology firm could more than double by May expiration. Shares in TiVo are up sharply by 8.07% this afternoon to stand at $9.78 as of 2:40pm in New York. TiVo, Inc. is participating in the Citi 21st Annual Global Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference today. Investors hoping to see TiVo’s shares rebound to prices not seen since April of 2010 purchased debit call spreads during the first half of the trading session. Approximately 20,000 calls were picked up at the May $17.5 strike for an average…
by phil - January 1st, 2011 8:28 am
I am still trying to get more bullish.
I was thinking about writing something cute like I resolve to get more bullish but that would be wrong. I try, in my own humble way, to "get" the market right. That means I am not bullish or bearish but Truthish (to further botch Stephen Colbert’s use of the word) and, as Buddah says: "There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting." Confucious reminds us that there are three methods by which we may learn wisdom: "First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."
In that spirit, we will spend the day in reflection so that we are better able to start on that long road to the truth so that we will be better able to imitate the things that will work in the year to come while trying to avoid making mistakes that will give us bitter experiences.
This post is not about me – We had a fantastic year and I’ve already given some outlook for 2011 back on the 19th in that weekend’s "It’s Never too Early to Predict the Future" and our current position is short-term bearish in the Jan-April time-frame, looking for a pullback to at least 1,200 on the S&P and possibly back to 1,150.
After that, we are expecting a return to steady gains but without the irrational exuberance we’re currently experiencing. So no, I am not bearish – I simply think we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves. Since we don’t know where the rally train will stop, we have our "Breakout Defense – 5,000% in 5 Trades or Less" from Dec 11th, which were a set of very bullish, highly levered plays where a little bet can pay off a lot if we simply hold our long-established breakout levels.
How much is "a lot"? Well my GE trade idea, for example, was to sell the 2013 $12.50 puts for $1.10 (net $1.15 in ordinary margin according to TOS) and to use that money to buy the 2012 $17.50/20 bull call spread for .95, which was a net .15 credit on a $2.50 spread that was on the money at the time. GE has gained about .75 since the 11th and…