by Option Review - September 30th, 2011 3:13 pm
Today’s tickers: COH, BIG & MOLX
COH - Coach, Inc. – Concern that growth may be slowing in China sparked selling pressure in shares of luxury goods retailers such as Coach, Inc. this week. Shares in the largest U.S. luxury leather goods seller fell 0.90% to $53.51 on Friday afternoon, adding to Thursday’s losses of roughly 6.0%. A three-legged options trade initiated on the stock this morning suggests one strategist expects shares to continue to decline in the next couple of months. The trader may be assuming an outright bearish or protective stance on Coach ahead of the company’s first-quarter earnings report on October 25.
The investor appears to have sold 1,100 calls at the Nov. $57.5 strike for a premium of $2.50 each, in order to offset the cost of buying the 1,100-lot bearish Nov. $43/$50 put spread purchased at a net premium of $2.20 per contract. The trader pockets a net credit of $0.30 per contract on the transaction, which he keeps in full as long as shares in Coach fail to rally above $57.50 at expiration. Additional profits are available to the investor should COH’s shares fall 6.6% from the current price of $53.51 to breach $50.00. Maximum potential profits of $7.30 per contract, including the net credit of $0.30, pad the investor’s hand-stitched fine Italian leather wallet if the stock drops 19.6% to settle beneath $43.00 a share at November expiration.
by Option Review - June 23rd, 2011 4:10 pm
Today’s tickers: XLF, COH, OXY & SH
Higher than estimated initial jobless claims of 429,000 compounded a revision higher to prior data in a sign the economic recovery remains anemic. Lowered growth forecasts and some earlier words of caution from central bankers Trichet and Bernanke reminded investors of what many already knew to be true: strong headwinds such as the European debt crisis, stubbornly high U.S. unemployment, and data showing manufacturing is slowing in the U.S. and Europe – just to name a few – represent serious threats to growth. Even the pace of China’s manufacturing appears to be slowing, possibly rising at its slowest pace in nearly a year, as weaker demand translates into fewer export orders amid the central bank’s efforts to combat inflation with interest rate hikes and higher reserve requirements. Add to all of that the International Energy Agency’s most recent announcement and it’s no wonder global markets are on the decline. The opening bell in U.S. trading on Thursday saw the VIX spike well above 10%, crossing the psychological 20-level for the 5th time in the past 7 trading sessions, as renewed fears drove sellers to the marketplace.
XLF - Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF – Contrarian strategists are out in numbers today while other market participants watching the broad-market decline accelerating are opting to head for the hills. Financials are not the worst performing sector today, but shares in the XLF, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the performance of the Financials sector of the S&P 500 Index, did decline as much as 2.2% this morning to $14.67. Options volume on the financials ETF jumped after a massive bullish transaction was initiated in the September contract. It looks like one or more traders purchased a call butterfly spread, buying a total of 27,000 calls…
by Option Review - May 26th, 2011 4:04 pm
Today’s tickers: OEH, GES, TKLC & COH
OEH - Orient-Express Hotels, Ltd. – Shares in the hotel and travel company with a taste for the luxury side of the leisure market slipped 2.15% this afternoon to $10.80, but options activity on Orient-Express Hotels today suggests shares may rebound by the end of the year. It looks like one optimistic investor purchased a call spread in the December contract to position for the stock to rise as much as 15.7% by expiration. Luxury-goods names such as Coach (COH) and Tiffany & Co. (TIF) are soaring today, perhaps the bullish player populating Orient-Express Hotels expects consumers with the funds to afford luxury travel and accommodations to keep their wallets open to the eventual benefit of OEH shares. The trader picked up 5,000 in-the-money calls at the December $10 strike for a premium of $1.90 each, and sold the same number of calls up at the December $12.5 strike at a premium of $0.65 apiece. The net cost of the transaction amounts to $1.25 per contract and positions the investor to profit should shares in Orient-Express Hotels rally 4.2% over the current price of $10.80 to surpass the effective breakeven point on the spread at $11.25 by December expiration day. Maximum potential profits of $1.25 per contract are available to the trader in the event that shares jump 15.7% to trade above $12.50 at expiration. Overall open interest on the stock of 13,566 contracts is largely composed of open put positions, while open positions in OEH calls are relatively few and far between. The 10,000 call options traded in the debit call spread today are substantial compared to previously established call positions and against total open positions on the hotel company. Shares in OEH last traded above $12.50 at the beginning of April.…
by phil - January 22nd, 2011 12:18 pm
Options Sage submits:
Smart virtual portfolio management is a world apart from conventional virtual portfolio management. While conventional virtual portfolio management offers generic guidelines to diversify capital, smart virtual portfolio management is tailored to your personal circumstances. We have, in the past had similar articles on managing $10,000, $100,000 and $1M Virtual Portfolios. This article is a variation of the $10,000 article in preparation for our new 2011 Member Virtual Portfolio with the goal of turning $25,000 in into $100,000 over the next 12 months. Phil is, of course, proposing an aggressive stance but, after turning $10,000 into over $30,000 in just 7 months in the prior virtual portfolio – let's just say we are confident it can be done.
Although this article focuses on prudent strategies for a $25K virtual portfolio, many less conservative investors are likely to find the strategies addressed throughout suitable for their own virtual portfolios – though the % allocations will differ as we will see in Phil's virtual exercise. No matter what your risk tolerance, a virtual portfolio comprising some relatively conservative trades is always prudent!
$25,000 Virtual Portfolio
Phil once commented that, when trading a $10,000 virtual portfolio, “every $100 counts”!
Capital should be allocated judiciously in a small virtual portfolio. NEVER allocate a majority of your capital to any single trade. Dedicating 20% of your virtual portfolio to relatively conservative trades (shown below) is appropriate but exceeding 30% is far too risky when dealing with limited capital. With a $25K virtual portfolio, it becomes increasingly imperative to be right first time. Financial constraints limit your ability to scale into trades at different threshold levels and that makes timing critical unless….
Unless you figure out how to trade without requiring perfect timing of the market! Those of you trading along with Phil’s earnings spreads have already seen some of the ways we take advantage of stock movement, whether they go up, stay flat or even drop to some degree…
by Option Review - October 22nd, 2010 4:47 pm
Today’s tickers: BKD, COH, CNP, JNY, SBUX, XRX & SLB
BKD - Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. – Shares of the operator of senior living communities are up 18.7% at $19.74 this afternoon after earlier rallying as much as 20.4% to an intraday high of $20.03. Brookdale’s shares jumped after Ventas Inc. agreed to purchase the real estate assets of Atria Senior Living Group for $1.5 billion in cash and stock. The acquisition sent shares in Brookdale, the largest owner of senior communities in the U.S., higher on sentiment the stock is undervalued and spurred bullish trading in its options today. One options strategist utilized longer-dated calls and puts to position for shares to continue their ascent. The trader purchased 1,745 calls at the January 2011 $20 strike at a premium of $1.60 each, and sold the same number of puts out at the April 2011 $17.5 strike at a premium of $1.30 apiece. The cost of buying the call options is reduced to just $0.30 per contract, thus positioning the investor to make money if BKD’s shares rally above the effective breakeven price of $20.30 ahead of expiration day in January. The sale of the put options is a nice way to cheapen the cost of taking a bullish stance on Brookdale, but is not without its risks. The trader could have 174,500 shares of the underlying stock put to him at $17.50 each if the puts land in-the-money at expiration in April 2011. But, the $1.30 premium per contract received for bearing this risk appears to be a favorable trade off for this bullish player.
COH - Coach, Inc. – The luxury retailer of handbags and accessories popped up on our scanners this morning after one investor dabbled in near-term put options. Coach’s shares are currently up 0.50% to stand at $44.64 as of 12:55 p.m., but earlier rallied more than 1.20% to touch an intraday high of $44.96. The near-term pessimistic play observed in the November contract today may be the work of…
by Option Review - September 1st, 2010 4:06 pm
Today’s tickers: NFLX, ULTA, BKC, RIG, COH, RDC & BID
NFLX – Netflix, Inc. – Call options on Netflix are in high demand today after Apple, Inc. CEO, Steve Jobs, said the new Apple TV product will allow consumers to stream movies from Netflix for the first time. NFLX shares jumped 8.5% on the news to an intraday high of $136.25 in late afternoon trading. Near-term bullish trading strategies dominated options action on Netflix today as a number of investors picked up calls and sold puts on the stock. Traders purchased approximately 1,400 now in-the-money calls at the September $135 strike for premium of $4.45 apiece. Another 1,500 calls were coveted at the higher September $140 strike at an average premium of $2.55 each. Shares in NFLX must increase another 4.6% in order for traders long the September $140 strike calls to start to accrue profits above the average breakeven price of $142.55 by expiration day. Optimists also scooped up 1,500 calls at the September $145 strike for premium of $1.57 each, and bought approximately 1,300 calls at the September $150 strike. Some put players drew a line of resistance in the sand at $130.00 and sold roughly 2,000 puts at the September $130 strike for an average premium of $4.98 apiece. Put sellers keep the full premium received as long as Netflix shares exceed $130.00 through expiration day. Otherwise, it seems these individuals are happy to have shares of the underlying stock put to them at an effective price of $125.02 each in the event the puts land in-the-money at expiration.
ULTA – Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. – Shares of the operator of full-service salons and retail stores that sell cosmetics, fragrance, haircare and skincare products in off-mall locations earlier declined as much as 8.9% to touch down at an intraday low of $20.67. Ulta’s shares dropped sharply after analysts at Jeffries & Co. lowered their price target on the beauty products provider to $25.00 from $27.00. The stock was able to crawl its way higher throughout the session, however, and is currently down just 2.25% on the day to arrive at $22.19 as of 3:20 pm ET. Options investors populating ULTA picked up put options following the target share price revision, and ahead of the firm’s second-quarter earnings report slated for release after the closing bell tomorrow evening. Traders expecting ULTA’s shares to slip once…
by phil - April 2nd, 2010 8:21 am
US Markets are closed today.
Most markets are closed. Japan was open and they went up 41 points (0.37%) and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index also went up 0.3% in Tokyo 1trading and Russia fell 0.1% but markets in Australia, Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, Singapore, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, the U.S. and all of western Europe are closed today for holidays. Strangley though, the Futures Market is open this morning so that can make things very tricky on a big data day like today.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has gained 1.7 percent this week as growth in China’s manufacturing and an increase in U.S. consumer spending bolstered optimism the global economic recovery is gaining momentum. The index this week completed its fourth consecutive quarterly advance with a 3.9 percent increase in the three months through March 31. Shares in the gauge trade at 16.4 times estimated earnings, compared with 14.8 times for the MSCI World Index of 23 developed nations. “The global macroeconomic recovery is behind the current uptrend in equities,” said Tomomi Yamashita, of $3.8Bn Shinkin Asset Management. “That trend is unlikely to change though the market is getting overheated.”
We get Non-Farm Payrolls at 8:30 and, obviously, investors are expecting a report that shows the US firmly on the road to recovery but I have already been reading a Gallup poll on Underemployment that suggests otherwise. According to the March tracking poll, 20.3% of the US workforce was UNDERemployed and that is UP 0.5% from February. . Gallup classifies respondents as underemployed if they are unemployed or working part-time but wanting full-time work. Gallup employment data are not seasonally adjusted.
Those underemployed people are mainly counted as employed in the NFP report and are a major distortion of the numbers, especially as the main delta component was a huge rise in part-time workers, from 9.2% to 9.9% and, like temps, they tend to be counted by the government as happy, happy workers. Unemployment (no job at all) measured by Gallup decreased from 10.6% to 10.4% and you can see from the following chart how those two are related:
According to Gallup, as unemployed Americans find part-time, temporary, and seasonal work, the official unemployment rate could decline. However, this does not necessarily mean more Americans are working at their desired capacity. It will continue to be important to track underemployment — to shed light on the true state of the U.S. workforce, and the millions of Americans who are searching…
by phil - January 19th, 2010 8:08 am
"There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying.
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown,
The dream is gone.
but I have become comfortably numb." – Pink Floyd
I have a theory that the markets (and the American people in general) aren't irrational, they are simply shell-shocked after suffering a very traumatic group financial experience…
To be shell-shocked is to be "mentally confused, upset, or exhausted as a result of excessive stress" and the most common symptoms are: Fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one's surroundings, and inability to prioritize – That certainly sounds like our Congress doesn't it? Combat stress disorder was first diagnosed in WWI, when 10% of the troops were killed and 56% wounded – far worse than had been experienced in previous wars. Our current financial crisis has similarly affected more people than any previous crisis with almost everyone knowing someone who is bankrupt or lost their jobs or homes and almost no one escaped the carnage of the downturn without some financial damage.
Combat fatigue may go a long way to explaining the severe drop-off in volume that has plagued the markets since March, with participation now down to 25% of where we were last January and that leaves us open to the blatant sort of market manipulation that Karl Denninger caught last week as well as the usual nonsense we get daily from HFT programs that drive the market with such precision that we are able to tell how the day is going to go by simply checking our hourly volume targets. Here's a clip from CNBC where a floor trader discusses market manipulation as a fact of trading (2 mins in).
As Nicholas Santiago points out on In The Money Stocks, "January is usually a very high volume month, yet it has started off the New Year even lighter than the last two months of 2009. Light volume markets are very difficult to…
by Option Review - November 18th, 2009 4:15 pm
Today’s tickers: SLV, EWT, CL, BG, ILMN, COH, TMO, SPG, BG, ADSK & SLM
SLV – iShares Silver Trust ETF – A bull call spread in the January 2011 contract on the silver ETF today suggests shares of the SLV may rally significantly over the next year and two months time. Shares of the SLV are currently up 0.5% to $18.23. The silver-bull purchased a ratio call spread by buying 3,000 calls at the January 23 strike for an average premium of 1.93 apiece, and selling 6,000 calls at the higher January 30 strike for about 90 cents each. The net cost of the transaction is reduced to just 13 cents per contract. Shares of the fund must rally at least 27% before the investor breaks even at a price of $23.13. The trader stands ready to accumulate maximum potential profits of 6.87 per contract if the stock surges up to $30.00 by January 2011.
EWT – iShares MSCI Taiwan Index ETF – A massive bearish play on the Taiwan Index exchange-traded fund caught our attention this afternoon with shares of the EWT down 0.5% to $12.64 in late-day trading. It appears one investor established a bearish risk reversal in the December contract to position for potential share price declines through expiration. The trader sold 31,000 calls at the December 13 strike for 20 cents premium apiece, spread against the purchase of 31,000 puts at the lower December 12 strike for 20 cents each. The sale of the calls exactly offset the cost of buying the puts. Essentially the reversal is a “free” bet that shares of the EWT will trend lower ahead of the 2010. The investor responsible for the transaction is likely long shares of the underlying fund and seeking protection to the downside. If shares fall beneath $12.00, the value of the underlying position is protected. However, if shares of the fund rally by expiration, the trader risks having shares of the stock called from him at $13.00 apiece.
CL – Colgate-Palmolive Co. – Speculation that Reckitt Benckiser Group may acquire Colgate-Palmolive spurred an all-out call option feeding frenzy on CL today and lifted shares of the U.S. company to a new 52-week high of $86.33. Investors flooded the November and December contracts, scooping up call options to position for further upward movement in the price of the underlying. The sudden surge in demand for Colgate-Palmolive options…
by Option Review - April 23rd, 2009 4:32 pm
Today’s tickers: RF, MSFT, F, VMW, FXI, AGN, WYE, XRT & COH
RF Regions Financial Corporation – The banking firm has slipped by more than 5% to $5.50 today, spurring option traders to heavily favor puts by a factor of four times to every call in action on the stock. We observed one investor looking to profit from further downward movement in shares by enacting a put spread in the near-term May contract. At the May 5.0 strike price he purchased 15,000 puts for an average premium of 50 cents apiece spread against the sale of 15,000 puts at the May 4.0 strike for 25 cents each. The net cost of the spread amounts to 25 cents and yields a maximum potential profit of 75 cents if shares decline all the way to $4.00 by expiration. He begins to garner profits to the downside beginning at the breakeven share price of $4.75. Another bearish trader targeted the now in-the-money May 6.0 strike price and appears to have bought 13,000 puts for an average premium of 1.05. Pessimism on the stock spread to the June 7.0 strike price where it appears that one investor sold 2,500 calls for 70 cents apiece in exchange for getting long 2,500 puts at the in-the-money June 7.0 strike price for 2.05 per contract. The net cost of the downside protection amounts to 1.35 and has already begun to amass profits for this investor as shares are currently below the breakeven point on the trade of $5.65.
MSFT Microsoft Corporation – Shares have dipped slightly by less than 1% to $18.65 ahead of its earnings conference call scheduled for 5:30 PM (EST) today. Street estimates place third quarter earnings at 39 cents per share. Our attention was drawn to one bullish investor looking to get long of call options in the October contract. It appears that this trader sold 5,113 puts at the October 16 strike price for a premium of 1.19 apiece in order to finance the purchase of 5,113 calls at the October 21 strike for 1.11 each. The investor has banked an 8 cent credit on the trade and is looking for shares to rally by about 13% by expiration in order to for the calls to land in-the-money, and for the premium on the calls to grow richer over time.
F Ford Motor Co. – Shares of the automotive company have…