by Option Review - July 29th, 2011 3:23 pm
Today’s tickers: CX, HTS & HLF
CX - Cemex Inc. ADR – A lousy U.S. GDP report did little to arouse hopes that the consumer was overcoming the economic malaise, let alone lending a hand to the homebuilding sector. Shares in Cemex, the leading maker of cement across all of the Americas, have been struggling under the burden of a rising debt burden for two-years in hopes of a hint of strengthening revenues resulting from the U.S. market. Understandably the shares responded today by reaching a fresh 52-week low. Put activity was active on Cemex options but it appears that one investor continues to expect that the share price is approaching a floor at around $7.00. While shares reached as low as $6.58 one options writer sold another basket of 10,000 put options at the $7.00 strike indicating he’d be happy to take delivery at that price come expiration in September. The fair price of 44 cents per contract reflects the risk of doing so. Options positions built at the strike yesterday and appeared to be the work of similar selling. September calls at the same strike were also bought 2,500 times at an average price of 39 cents. Option implied volatility, which reached its highest peak in four months on Thursday started to decline as the shares recovered towards $7.00 on Friday.
HTS - Hatteras Financial Corp. – Fears very much in the foreground for the treasury market continued to weigh on REITs on Friday. Hatteras Financial was one of several companies whose share price slid over fears that disruption to the government bond market might be magnified in the repo-market for government sponsored entities, where such companies find day-to-day funding. The recent rise in the cost of borrowing in the repo-market merely reflects elevated investor concerns but according to executives within the industry, has nothing to do with day-to-day business. Efforts to soothe investors nerves fell by the wayside as shares in Hatteras broke violently from a narrow range typical of an income-generating…
by Option Review - June 16th, 2011 4:42 pm
Today’s tickers: RIMM, ULBI, NABI & CX
Strong corporate earnings helped fuel the S&P 500 Index’s more than 30% rally since the end of last summer up to its highest point at 1370 at the start of May. A number of companies are scheduled to report earnings today, including beleaguered Blackberry maker Research In Motion Ltd. Will another spate of potentially strong corporate results inject renewed confidence into the market? Or, will earnings disappoint this quarter as companies struggle with higher energy and commodity prices? Even positive earnings surprises may not be enough to spur the return of risk appetite as less than palatable reports regarding the ongoing European debt crisis push global equities lower and leave investors with a sour taste in their mouths. Domestically, a gain in housing starts and building permits in May as well as a decline in jobless claims last week, give the market some good news to pocket today following Wednesday’s pullback.
RIMM - Research In Motion Ltd. – Options activity on the maker of Blackberry smartphones and PlayBook tablets suggests investors are harboring mixed opinions regarding the direction RIMM’s shares are likely to take following the company’s first-quarter earnings report after U.S. markets have closed for the day. Shares are off their highs of the day, but remain positive in early-afternoon trade. The stock currently trades 0.50% higher on the session at $35.35 just before 12:45pm on the East Coast. Options volume is pushing 110,000 contracts, with investors paying roughly equal attention to call and put options. Trading traffic is heaviest in options with only one trading day remaining to expiration. It looks like some investors are positioning for disappointment, with the majority of the June $32.5 strike puts trading purchased for an average premium of $0.54 apiece. June $30 strike puts…
by Option Review - August 4th, 2010 5:02 pm
Today’s tickers: RIG, BKS, GPS, HIG, CX, GENZ, ENP & PG
RIG – Transocean, Ltd. – Shares of the provider of offshore contract drilling services are up 6.75% to stand at $53.79 with 20 minutes remaining before the closing bell. Transocean is scheduled to reveal its performance for the second quarter of 2010 after the market closes today. Impending earnings inspired a flurry of options activity on the stock in afternoon trading. Investors are making good use of RIG’s weekly options pre-earnings, placing both bullish and bearish bets by exchanging calls and puts. Optimists hoping to see Transocean shares extend gains through weekly-expiration on Friday purchased roughly 3,200 calls at the August $55 strike for an average premium of $0.74 each. Buying interest spread to the higher August $60 strike where approximately 1,000 calls were coveted at an average premium of $0.08 apiece. A strong earnings report and continued rally in RIG’s shares will benefit traders making bullish wagers today. On the flip side, some investors are hedging possible disappointing earnings and subsequent share price erosion. Put players picked up roughly 2,500 puts at the August $52.5 strike for an average premium of $0.96 each. These contracts, which expire on Friday, yield profits – or downside protection – to investors should Transocean’s shares decline 4.2% from the current price of $53.79 to breach the average breakeven point on the downside at $51.54 by expiration. Calls expiring on August 20 were also heavily traded ahead of earnings. Trading traffic is heaviest at the August $55 strike where more than 11,500 contracts changed hands by 3:50 pm ET. Overall, options players exchanged roughly 1.65 calls for each single put traded on the stock today.
BKS – Barnes & Noble, Inc. – The bookseller’s shares surged 24.9% at the start of the trading session to an intraday high of $16.04 on news the retailer willing to consider offers from others to buy the company and its 720 outlets. Shares cooled slightly by 3:20 pm ET, but are still up 18.85% on the day to arrive at $15.26 ahead of the final bell. The U.S. bookseller was upgraded two levels to ‘neutral’ from ‘sell’ at Goldman Sachs. Options traders hoping to see Barnes & Noble’s shares continue higher ahead of expiration next month purchased roughly 1,000 calls at the September $18 strike for an average premium of $0.47 apiece. Call buyers make money…
by Option Review - April 20th, 2010 5:07 pm
Today’s tickers: GS, MU, PEG, CX, XRX, IYT, EEM, HOG, HUM & ALL
GS – Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. – Posturing in out-of-the-money put options on Goldman Sachs today indicates some investors expect the investment banking firm’s share price could erode substantially ahead of May expiration. Goldman’s shares slipped 1.5% during the trading session to stand at $160.94 as of 2:30 pm (ET). One pessimistic player invested in a debit put spread in order to position for continued bearish movement in the price of the underlying stock through expiration next month. The trader picked up approximately 11,700 puts at the May $145 strike for an average premium of $1.91 each, and sold the same number of puts at the lower May $120 strike for $0.16 apiece. Net premium paid for the put transaction amounts to $1.75 per contract. The trader makes money if Goldman’s shares fall 11% to breach the effective breakeven point to the downside at $143.25. Maximum available profits of $23.25 per contract are available to the options player should the financial services firm’s share price plummet 25% to $120.00 ahead of expiration day in May. Other bearish players engaged in plain-vanilla put buying at the June $150 strike where at least 3,600 put contracts were picked up for an average premium of $4.73 each. Put-buyers at this strike stand ready to accrue profits if Goldman Sachs’ share price slips 9.75% lower to breach the average breakeven point at $145.27 by June expiration.
MU – Micron Technology Inc. – A large-volume short strangle play employed on the manufacturer of semiconductor devices today suggests one big options player expects Micron’s shares to trade within a specified range through expiration in October. Micron Technology’s shares are up 0.10% to $10.81 as of 2:50 pm (ET). It looks like one trader sold approximately 24,000 puts at the October $9.0 strike for a premium of $0.73 each, in combination with the sale of about the same number of calls at the higher October $12 strike for $0.98 apiece. Gross premium pocketed by the strangle-strategist amounts to $1.71 per contract. The investor keeps the full amount of premium received today as long as Micron’s shares trade within the boundaries of the strike prices described through expiration day. Short positions assumed in both call and put options expose the trader to losses in the event that Micron’s shares rally above the upper breakeven price…
by Option Review - November 10th, 2009 5:08 pm
Today’s tickers: GDX, CF, S, XHB, PCLN, XLF, CX, CAR, BZH, CRI & ERTS
GDX – Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF – Shares of the gold ETF that invests in shares of precious metals mining companies are up 0.5% to $49.53 with one hour remaining in the trading session. Option implied volatility has come down from 54% to 46% recently as gold’s price has surged. Nearer-term investors sought downside protection on the fund, whereas long-term traders initiated bullish plays. Investors hoping to lock in gains experienced during the recent run-up in the price of gold purchased 4,000 puts at the January 2010 47 strike for 3.05 apiece. Further along, at the March 2010 44 strike, another 6,000 puts were picked up for an average premium of 3.10 per contract. Finally, long-term bullishness took the form of a call spread in the January 2011 contract. It appears one investor purchased about 5,000 calls at the January 50 strike for an average of 9.52 each, marked against the sale of the same number of calls at the higher January 55 strike for 7.55 each. The net cost of the optimistic play amounts to 1.97 per contract. The trader stands to accrue maximum potential profits of 3.03 each if shares of GDX rally 11% over the current price to $55.00 by expiration in January 2011.
CF – CF Industries Holdings, Inc. – Bearish option plays appeared on the manufacturer of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer products today after the firm rejected rival Agrium Inc.’s increased takeover offer of $4.52 billion. Shares of CF are currently trading 4% lower to $77.20. Investors purchased put options at the now in-the-money December 80 strike for an average premium of 6.70 apiece. Perhaps put-buyers are protecting long stock positions. Otherwise, they are hoping to accrue profits if shares of CF decline through the effective breakeven price of $73.30. Another trader unraveled a previously established bullish play in the January 2010 contract. The investor originally placed an extremely bullish 8,500-lot call spread at the January 90/100 strikes. However, the trader abandoned bullish sentiment today by closing out the spread. Option implied volatility on CF jumped 7.5% over Monday’s closing value of 52.9% to reach an intraday high of 55.9%.
S – Sprint Nextel Corp. – Shares of the wireless communications company surrendered a portion of gains experienced during yesterday’s 20% rally to an intraday high of $3.43. The stock…
by Option Review - September 22nd, 2009 4:31 pm
Today’s tickers: CX, RIMM, FCX, LAVA, XLF, M, MBI, JDSU & SHPGY
CX - The Mexican cement company’s shares have edged slightly lower by less than 0.5% to $13.04 this afternoon due to the firm’s plan to issue stock to pay down debt. Option traders have braced for further declines by employing bearish risk reversals in the October contract. It appears investors shed 6,500 calls at the October 14 strike for 43 cents apiece in order to partially finance the purchase of 6,500 puts at the lower October 12 strike for 45 cents each. The net cost of picking up protective put options is reduced to just 2 pennies per contract. If traders are long the underlying stock, downside protection will kick in if shares slip beneath the breakeven point at $12.98 by expiration next month. – Cemex SAB de CV –
RIMM - Blackberry producer, Research in Motion, attracted bullish investors who initiated call spreads on the stock today. Shares are slightly higher by less than 0.25% to stand at the current price of $84.25. One investor targeted the November contract where it appears put options were sold to offset the cost of purchasing a call spread. The spread involved the purchase of 6,000 calls at the November 105 strike for 1.28 each against the sale of 6,000 calls at the higher November 120 strike for 33 cents per contract. Finally, the November 70 strike had 6,000 puts shed for an average premium of 1.87 apiece. The investor receives a net 91 cent credit on the three-legged strategy. He will retain the full premium as long as shares of RIMM remain higher than $70.00 by expiration day. Additional profits are available to the trader if the stock surges 25% from the current price to breach the $105.00 level. Maximum potential profits of 15.00 per contract would be attained if Research in Motion skyrocketed 42% to $120.00. Another trader put on a ratio call spread in the January contract. The bullish trade was established through the purchase of 1,500 calls at the January 90 strike for 6.81 spread against the sale of 3,000 calls at the higher January 115 strike for a premium of 1.42 apiece. The net cost of the transaction amounts to 3.97 per contract. The investor will begin to garner profits if shares rise through the breakeven point at $93.97 by January’s expiration. – Research in Motion Limited…
by Option Review - May 7th, 2009 4:21 pm
Today’s tickers: CVC, CX, ALL & VALE
CVC Cablevision Systems Corporation – Shares of the cable operator have climbed by more than 2.5% to $18.84 after reporting that first-quarter revenue increased by 10.6% to $1.903 billion. We observed bullish activity on the stock by investors looking for continued upward movement in share price. The May 20 strike had some 4,900 calls coveted for an average premium of 97 cents apiece. Further up at the May 22.5 strike price, about 1,300 calls were bought for 29 cents per contract. Finally, individuals looking for near-term downside protection targeted the May 15 strike price to pick up about 1,400 put options for an average premium of 22 cents each. Option implied volatility on the stock surged from 53% at the start of the trading day up to as high as 71% before dropping of a bit to the current value of 69%.
CX Cemex SAB de CV ADS – The provider of ready-mix cement and other construction materials has declined by more than 3.5% to $10.00. One bearish investor sees shares continuing to decline in the medium-term and today established a ratio credit spread in the July contract in the magnitude of two-to-three. It appears that he sold 17,500 calls at the July 7.5 strike price for a premium of 3.30 apiece and simultaneously purchased 24,500 calls at the July 10 strike for 1.65 each. The investor retains the credit as long as shares remain below $10.00 by expiration. Since he is long more calls at the July 10 strike than he is short at the July 7.5 strike, should shares rally hard the position will effectively leave him long of calls. Thus, if shares should rally rather than fall by expiration, he would begin to profit on the upside on the 7,000 lot call position.
ALL The Allstate Corporation – The insurance giant’s shares have jumped more than 8.5% to $28.00 ahead of its first-quarter earnings report set for release after the market closes this evening. The bullish rise in shares is on the heels of stronger than expected earnings reported by its competitor, Prudential (PRU). ALL leapt onto our ‘most active by options volume’ market scanner after one investor initiated a large-volume calendar spread. It appears that the individual sold 30,000 calls at the October 35 strike price for 1.35 in order to finance the purchase of 30,000 now in-the-money…
by Option Review - March 6th, 2009 11:34 pm
Today’s tickers: PNC, GT, ROH, WMT, CX, PG & XLF
PNC – PNC Financial Services Group – Shares have fallen over 12% to $17.60 and put action today indicates that there may be more down-days to come. At the March 15 strike price nearly 14,000 puts were sold for an average premium of 1.78 per contract. We believe this sale could be the work of an investor who is short the stock initiating a covered put strategy. By taking in the premium today, this investor stands ready to take delivery of the shares at $15 come expiration. The risk to this trader is that shares are remain stable above the strike ahead of delivery and thereafter rebound, in which case he has to buy back at some point. But, the trade would yield a satisfactory outcome if shares continue to fall below $15 by expiration in which case the investor has his short position alleviated with a long put holder putting the stock to him. In the meantime this investor retains the full premium of 1.78. At the April 10 strike price, more typical put buying was seen given the fall in shares today. Over 5,500 puts were picked up for about 1.65 apiece, indicating that investors do expect that shares will continue to fall.
GT – The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company – A victim of the decline in auto sales, Goodyear has fallen 4.5% to a new 52-week low, touching down at $3.40 today. Despite the depressing news plaguing the auto industry from all sides, one option investor sees the world through rose-tinted shades and initiated to purchase of 20,000 calls at the January 2010 7.5 strike price for 50 cents per contract. Shares will need to rally like there’s no tomorrow and increase by 135% in order to breach the breakeven share price of $8.00 by expiration next year. Option implied volatility for GT currently stands at 128%. Lately we have noticed similar structured trades using optimistic options plays in both Ford and GM.
ROH – Rohm and Haas Company – Shares have jumped over 17% to $63.60 amid news that discussions over merger resolution have resumed between ROH and Dow Chemical Co. We can only speculate as to how the discussion will turn out and scant information is available at the present time. The uncertainty has created a veritable hot bed of frenzied trading among option…
by Option Review - March 5th, 2009 6:21 pm
Today’s tickers: XLF, DUK, DOW, GE, CX, GME, SEPR & ADBE
XLF – Financial Select Sector SPDR – Helping pummel the S&P index and continuing to sour the tone today is a 9.5% slump in the financial select sector ETF, which is now trading at $6.22 and as if we need to mention it, that’s a fresh lifetime low. In the front March contract there is heavy call volume at the 8.0 and 9.0 strikes, both trading to bid and ask illuminating a decidedly mixed picture. Catching our eye at the January 2011 strike is a curious bullish combination in which an investor appears to have created a ratio put spread at the 4.0 and 5.0 strikes in which twice as many puts were sold at the lower strike. Some 10,000 puts were sold at a premium of 96 cents while 5,000 were bought at the 5.0 strike for 1.51. The net premium creates downside losses starting at $3.45. The other leg of the trade appears much higher up on the call side where some 5,000 calls were paid for at the 20 line with a 21 cent premium. We’re assuming that this investor is pitching camp in the 2011 contract to help weather the financial storm in hopes that sunny days will prevail after the clouds dissipate leaving him well positioned for the inevitable rebound.
DUK – Duke Energy Corporation – The energy company experienced a 3% decline to $12.06, but did not deter bullish action by one investor in the April contract. At the 12.5 strike price, over 18,000 calls were purchased for an average price of 53 cents apiece. Perhaps this trader was taking advantage of falling call premiums given today’s share price decline. In order to profit from the trade shares will need to rally by 8% to the breakeven price of $13.03. Option implied volatility has surged from 37% earlier in the day to the present reading of 49.5%.
DOW – Dow Chemical Co. – Shares of the chemical manufacturer have declined 6.5% to $6.60, reaching a new 52-week low for the stock. We observed bearish option trades in play, the largest of which occurred at the March 5.0 strike price where 20,500 puts were purchased for 34 cents each. This investor is likely buying protection from further downside movement in shares, and it is likely that he is long the stock. The bearish picture…