by Option Review - July 18th, 2011 4:15 pm
Today’s tickers: SH, CLX, NABI & HWD
SH - ProShares Short S&P 500 – Bearish investors are scooping up calls on the ProShares Short S&P 500 ETF this morning with 95% of stocks in the U.S. benchmark Index trading in the red today. Shares in the SH, an exchange-traded fund designed to correspond to the inverse of the daily performance of the S&P 500 Index, are up 1.45% to arrive at $41.55 as of 12:00 pm on the East Coast. Investors exchanged more than 8,000 calls at the August $44 strike against previously existing open interest of 2,231 contracts. It looks like most of the calls were purchased for an average premium of $0.25 a-pop. Perhaps call buyers are hedging long exposure to the index, or snapping up the calls to take an outright bearish stance on the near-term performance of the Index. The ongoing debt crisis in Europe, mind-numbing squabbling amongst U.S. lawmakers tasked with raising the debt ceiling, and concerns the economic recovery continues to soften are weighing down equities today. Signs that any of these factors are worsening could send the S&P 500 Index lower to the delight of call buyers. Investors holding the August $44 strike calls profit if shares in the SH rise 6.5% to exceed the effective breakeven price of $44.25 by expiration next month. The SH last traded above $44.25 back in December 2010, when the S&P 500 Index was hovering around 1243. Meanwhile, traders casting doubt on the likelihood of a sharp correction in the Index through August expiration sold around 1,500 calls at the August $45 strike to pocket an average premium of $0.15 each. Call sellers keep the full amount of premium as long as the contracts expire worthless at expiration next month.
CLX - Clorox Co. – A sizable ratio put spread on the maker of cleaning supplies and Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing indicates one strategist is positioning for limited bearish movement in the price of the underlying shares through August…
by Option Review - July 11th, 2011 6:05 pm
Today’s tickers: CLX, IGT, EBAY & NVLS
CLX - Clorox Co. – Bullish options activity on the manufacturer and marketer of a range of consumer goods jumped this afternoon with shares in Clorox Company rising 5.6% to $71.94. Clorox has been the subject of takeover chatter on several occasions over the years, which in the past tended to drive up the price of the underlying as well as call volume and options implied volatility. No rumors have come to our attention today, but shares are soaring, calls are in high demand and implied volatility is up sharply by 82.6% to arrive at 25.20% by 1:55 pm ET. Options traders are piling into Clorox calls to buy into the rapid rise in the price of the underlying. Volume is heaviest at the July $70 strike where more than 4,200 now deep in-the-money calls changed hands against open interest of 2,322 contracts. Most of the calls at this strike were purchased by first-responders for an average premium of just $0.40 each. The huge run-up in volatility and rally in share price has lifted premium on the July $70 strike calls up to $1.90 each this afternoon. Bulls tacked August contract calls, as well. Traders purchased the majority of the 1,285 calls exchanged at the August $72.5 strike for an average premium of $0.44 a-pop. Investors long the calls profit in the event that shares exceed the average breakeven price of $72.94 through August expiration. Shares in Clorox Co. reached their current all-time high of $72.43 back on February 11. The maker of bleach and Burt’s Bees® personal care products reports fourth-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell on August 3.
IGT - International Game Technology – Options on International Game Technology, which were popular with strategists positioning for shares in the maker of…
by Option Review - April 26th, 2011 4:24 pm
Today’s tickers: CAT, CLX, S & ELX
CAT - Caterpillar, Inc. – Signs of bullish sentiment on the machinery maker appeared in the options market this morning with the price of Caterpillar’s shares rising as much as 3.1% to an intraday high of $112.20. Strong earnings from a number of big industrials-names this week helped CAT’s shares higher in the face of the company’s own first-quarter earnings report ahead of the opening bell on Friday. In weekly options on the stock, the April ’29 $105 strike put options are most active. Two-way trading in the puts suggests mixed sentiment in the days leading up to CAT’s earnings. Buyers of the puts may be wary of an earnings miss, while sellers of the contracts seem to be saying they at least expect shares in the name to remain above $105.00 through expiration on Friday. Meanwhile, the May contract is a-buzz with activity as well. Call options are more heavily populated than puts in early-afternoon trade. Bullish players positioning for the price of the underlying stock to continue to climb ahead of expiration day next month bought calls and sold puts. Volume is heaviest in the May $115 strike calls, where around 6,300 contracts have changed hands, fewer contracts than the 11,355 lots of previously existing open interest at that strike. Buyers of the options are dominating, paying an average premium of $1.60 per contract for the right to buy the underlying stock at $115.00. Investors long the May $115 strike calls profit at expiration if shares in CAT rally another 3.9% over the current price of $112.20 to exceed the average breakeven point on the upside at $116.60. More than 1,100 call options were picked up at each of the May $120 and $125 strikes at average premiums of $0.52 and $0.17, respectively. Caterpillar’s shares recently hit an all-time high of $113.93 on April 4, 2011. Options players traded more than 55,000 contracts on the machinery manufacturer by 1:20pm in New York.…
by Phil Davis - March 17th, 2010 4:19 pm
Today’s tickers: F, EEM, DELL, UPS, IYR, JACK, WFC, CLX, SKX & LNC
F – Ford Motor Co. – The automobile manufacturer’s shares are once again trading at a new 52-week high after rallying 4.00% today to $14.02. Upward movement in the price of the underlying stock inspired bullish options trading activity. One investor initiated a plain-vanilla debit call spread to position for continued share price appreciation through expiration in September. The trader bought 5,000 calls at the September $15 strike for a premium of $1.03 per contract, and sold the same number of calls at the higher September $17.5 strike for $0.40 each. The investor paid a net $0.63 per contract for the spread, but could gain as much as $1.87 per contract if Ford’s shares surge 25% over the current price to $17.50 by expiration day. Nearer-term put activity clashes with the bullish move described in the September contract. It looks like investors purchased at least 18,600 put options at the April $13 strike for an average premium of $0.27 apiece. Perhaps put buyers are long shares of the underlying stock and are merely picking up cheap downside protection. But, it could also be the case that traders are buying the puts outright because they expect Ford’s shares to decline ahead of next month’s expiration day. If the latter is true, put-buyers amass profits if shares trade beneath the effective breakeven point on the puts at $12.73 by expiration.
EEM – iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF – Shares of the EEM, an exchange-traded fund that mirrors the price and yield performance of the MSCI Emerging Markets index, rose 1.55% during the session to $42.24. Despite the move up in share price, one investor employed a total of 60,000 option contracts on the fund to establish a bearish risk reversal in the January 2011 contract. It appears the options player shed 30,000 calls at the January 2011 $48 strike for a premium of $1.60 apiece in order to partially finance the purchase of 30,000 puts at the January 2011 $38 strike for $2.88 each. The net cost of the reversal amounts to $1.28 per contract. The massive size of the position may mean the trader is currently long an equivalent number of underlying shares of the fund. If this is the case, the transaction provides downside protection on that position should the EEM’s share price erode ahead of…
by Option Review - November 6th, 2009 4:53 pm
Today’s tickers: PG, CTXS, LINTA, HIG, CVS, UUP, VIX, AONE, SWKS, CLX, BCSI & NVDA
PG – The Proctor & Gamble Co. – Bullish action on Proctor & Gamble today suggests one investor expects shares to continue to rally ahead of expiration in November. Shares are currently trading 1% higher to $61.13. The trader purchased 10,000 calls at the now in-the-money November 60 strike for 1.39 each, and simultaneously sold 10,000 calls at the higher November 62.5 strike for 26 cents apiece. The net cost of buying the call spread amounts to 1.13 per contract and yields maximum potential profits of 1.37 each if shares rally up to $62.50 by expiration. Shares need only rally another 2.2% from the current price to reach the $62.50-level.
CTXS – Citrix Systems, Inc. – Software developer, Citrix Systems, attracted bullish option traders to the November contract today amid a 1% increase in shares to $38.80. Investors displayed optimistic sentiment on the stock by selling approximately 10,600 puts at the November 35 strike for 10 cents premium apiece. Put-sellers retain the full dime-per-contract as long as shares remain above $35.00 through expiration this month. Shares of CTXS have traded above $36.00 since September 4, 2009.
LINTA – Liberty Media Corp. – Shares of the broadcasting and entertainment company rallied 1% during the trading session to $12.14. Plain-vanilla call buying action on the stock today suggests some investors expect shares to rise significantly by expiration in January 2010. Traders purchased about 11,800 calls at the January 15 strike for an average premium of 25 cents apiece. Call-buyers will accumulate profits if shares surge at least 26% from the current price to surpass the breakeven point at $15.25 by expiration.
HIG – Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. – Medium-term investors placed bearish bets on the insurance and financial services firm today. Shares are currently trading less than 0.25% higher to $24.16 after suffering significant erosion throughout the week. One pessimistic trader initiated a bearish risk reversal in the January 2010 contract. The investor sold 4,500 calls at the January 27 strike for an average premium of 78 cents apiece to partially finance the purchase of the same number of put options at the lower January 21 strike for 1.68 each. The net cost of the transaction is reduced to a more palatable 90 cents per contract, but does leave the investor exposed in the event of…
by Phil Davis - November 2nd, 2009 8:24 am
Here’s a scary chart pattern for you from our Chart School:
Elliot Wave Trends points out that the S&P has fallen into a fractal patten that may be repeating the behavior of the great drop of ’08, right here, right now. Of course patterns do SEEM to repeat themselves all the time – until they don’t – but it will be interesting this week and next to see if we follow-through with a flatline, followed by a drop to 1,000 from which we falsely back to 1,050 and then plunge to our doom as Santa foresakes us and we run all the way back down to our lows.
That’s where they lose me. Charts are fun and all but I see no basis for going back to our lows as our lows were ridiculous and caused by panic-selling in a doomsday scenario. Hard to imagine things will fall apart that badly between now and Jan earnings although I do believe we will have a rough time — just not that rough!
Barron’s surveyed Money Managers this weekend and they don’t seem to think things will be rough at all. 52% of those surveyed think there is NO WAY we will have a double dip recession. 76% believe that the decline in corporate profits has ended and 68% believe our GDP wil grow more than 2.5% in Q4 while just 10% believe it is possible for commodity pricing to fall in the next 6 months. You know what they say about when everyone is on the same side of a bet of course!
These are the people we give our money to – the biggest and "brightest" of hedge fund managers who control over $1Tn of assets under management. Favorite stocks in the group are: MSFT, ABT, BAC, BRK.A, CVS, GE, GS, LEG and QCOM. Stocks that are considered overvalued are: AIG, AAPL, GOOG, CAT, AMZN, C, GE, GMCR, VZ and YHOO. Ony 7% think Asian stocks are heading lowed, just 1% less than 8% who feel oil is going down; 92% don’t feel oil will go down.
Everybody likes Tech (just 0.9% think it will be the worst performing sector) and nobody likes the Financials (22.5% think it will be the worst performing sector) followed by Consumer Cyclicals (20.7%) and, oddly, Utilities (15.3%). The sectors picked as the best performers for the next 6-12 months are Tech (18.9%), Energy (17.1%) and Health Care (17.1%). Only…
by Option Review - July 22nd, 2009 4:43 pm
Today’s tickers: WEN, JNPR, VIX, CLX, BBY, AAPL & AXP
WEN – Despite the 2% decline in shares to $4.59 today, WEN was flooded by investors looking for bullish call options in the September contract. Approximately 9,000 calls were coveted by fans of the Frosty at the September 5.0 strike price for an average premium of 32 cents apiece. Investor’s long the calls are hoping the stock rises at least 16% through the breakeven point at $5.32 by expiration. The 10,861 option contracts exchanged on the stock today represents more than 66% of the existing open interest for WEN of 16,325 lots. We note that Wendy’s/Arby’s Group shares have not traded higher than $5.32 since April 29, 2009. – CBOE Volatility Index
JNPR – The network-equipment maker jumped onto our ‘most active by options volume’ market scanner today after a four-legged bullish trade was initiated in the near-term August contract. Shares of the firm are off by more than 2% today to stand at $25.27 perhaps on news that IBM plans to sell Juniper switches and routers under its own brand name. It appears that the investor responsible for the transaction is expecting JNPR to rebound as he was seen selling put options on the stock to fund the purchase of a call spread. The sale of 9,300 puts at the August 22 strike price for about 35 cents each, in combination with the sale of 9,300 puts at the lower August 21 strike for 25 cents apiece, yielded the trader a gross premium of 60 cents. The bullish investor then looked to the August 27 strike price where he purchased 9,300 calls for an average premium of 1.10 per contract spread against the sale of 9,300 calls at the higher August 30 strike for 25 cents each. The net cost of the call spread, after factoring in the sale of the put options, amounts to just 25 cents. Thus, the individual responsible for the transaction stands to bank maximum potential profits of 2.75 if shares of JNPR can rally up to $30.00 by expiration. The stock must rally higher by about 8% before the investor begins to accumulate profits starting at the breakeven share price of $27.25. – Juniper Networks, Inc.