by Option Review - March 17th, 2015 3:36 pm
by Option Review - September 19th, 2011 1:49 pm
Today’s tickers: XLF, EL, RCII & CY
XLF - Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund – Massive prints in XLF put options cropped up ahead of President Obama’s speech on plans to cut the budget deficit and amid heightened concerns regarding the European debt crisis over the weekend. Shares in the XLF, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the performance of the Financial Select Sector of the S&P 500 Index, fell 3.1% to $12.50 by 11:15 am ET as the President wrapped up his speech by reiterating the need for a balanced approach to the deficit issue. Large trades in December contract puts this morning suggest some strategists expect financials to worsen through the end of the year.
One bearish play, which yields maximum benefits if shares in the ETF drop more than 25% by December expiration, is one of the largest initiated on the XLF so far today. It looks like the investor responsible for the put spread purchased 75,000 puts at the Dec. $11 strike for a premium of $0.57 each, and sold the same number of puts at the lower Dec. $9.0 strike at a premium of $0.23 apiece. Net premium paid on the transaction amounts to $0.34 per contract. The trader profits on the spread if shares in the fund fall 14.7% to breach the effective breakeven price of $10.66 at expiration in December. Maximum potential profits of $1.66 per contract are available on the position should the price of the underlying plunge 28% to trade below $9.00 at expiration. Shares in the XLF last traded below $9.00 back in April 2009. Put options on the XLF are changing hands more than 10 times for each single call option in action as of 11:30 am in New York. The put to call ratio on the fund is currently at its highest since June 2010.…
by Option Review - August 3rd, 2010 5:03 pm
Today’s tickers: ARNA, GENZ, HL, CY, JCP, FR & XLB
ARNA – Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. – Options on the biotechnology company are active ahead of the firm’s second-quarter earnings report slated for release after the closing bell this afternoon. Shares rallied as much as 5.15% earlier in the session to an intraday high of $7.54, but are currently trading a lesser 1.95% higher on the day at $7.31 as of 3:35 pm ET. One optimistic investor hoping to see Arena’s shares appreciate ahead of October expiration enacted a bullish risk reversal. The trader appears to have sold roughly 9,000 puts at the October $7.0 strike for an average premium of $2.40 each in order to buy the same number of calls at the October $12.5 strike for an average premium of $0.60 apiece. The investor reels in a net credit of $1.80 per contract on the risk reversal, and keeps the full amount received on the transaction as long as Arena’s shares exceed $7.00 through October expiration. Additional, and potentially unlimited profits, start to accumulate for the trader if Arena’s shares surge 71% to exceed $12.50 by expiration day in October. The credit $1.80 credit pocketed by the investor provides limited protection against losses should Arena’s shares nosedive ahead of expiration. The trader starts to lose money if the price of the underlying stock falls 28.9% to trade beneath the effective breakeven price of $5.20 by expiration day. Options implied volatility on Arena Pharmaceuticals is up 5.5% to 197.15% ahead of earnings.
GENZ – Genzyme Corp. – The biopharmaceutical company, which is currently knee-deep in merger negotiations with Sanofi-Aventis, attracted bullish options investors during the trading session. It looks like one trader initiated a plain-vanilla debit call spread in the January 2011 contract to prepare for the sharp increase in the price of Genzyme’s shares that’s likely to occur if Sanofi-Aventis winds up purchasing – or at least confirming plans to purchase – the drug maker before January 2011 expiration. Genzyme’s shares inched up 0.25% this afternoon to $70.52 as of 3:15 pm ET. The options player picked up approximately 6,000 calls at the January 2011 $70 strike for an average premium of $4.42 each, and sold the same number of calls at the higher January 2011 $75 strike for an average premium of $1.72 apiece. The net cost of putting on the bullish transaction amounts to $2.70 per…
by phil - May 8th, 2010 5:43 am
I’m just doing a quick wrap-up this week because, surprisingly, it MIGHT be time for a new Buy List!
I had said to Members on Cinco de Mayo, in our 5% Rule Review, that if we broke below 1,155 we would retrace all the way to 1,100 with our 5% Rule resistance points around 1,100 at 1,155, 1,114, 1,100, 1,073 and 1,045. We actually spiked as low as 1,066 on Thursday but finished the week at a very sad 1,110 as we watched for that "weak bounce" zone to be broken all day. This does not bode technically well for the markets next week but I told Members we would have to give the markets a pass for the day. Based on the uncertainty of the weekend, we can’t expect a lot of capital commitments ahead of the EU decision. After all, we’re in cash – why shouldn’t other smart funds be too?
When I predicted we’d hit 1,000 on Wednesday, I did not think it would be on Thursday! The markets are now negative for the year and the S&P has spiked almost to the Feb low of 1,044 (and our lowest close was 1,056). That’s right, these 5% Rule numbers are the SAME ones we used back then and it’s the same series we used to measure our winter run at the end of last year. We expect a bounce here, hopefully at least a test of 1,155 on a relief rally if Greece is "fixed" yet again on Monday but we’re not going to be too impressed until we’re over that line.
Still that means it’s time to at least lay out a new Watch List, which is the prelude to a Buy List – giving us a list of stocks we’d like to get into at lower prices. Our last Member Watch List was back in December and by Feb 6th we had our famous Buy List, which we triggered at Dow 10,058 for a very successful run through March 18th ("Bye Bye Buy List!"), when we closed 2/3 of the positions and we have since cashed out the rest as I got more and more worried about the rally, finally calling for all cash last week.
Speaking of last week, for those of you who say I don’t pick enough straight stocks – I listed 33 short trade ideas from my unofficial "Sell List" last Friday (4/30) when the Dow was way up at 11,167…
by phil - April 30th, 2010 8:30 am
Attention ladies and gentlemen:
The stock market will soon be leaving the station, please secure all personal items, pull down the safety bar (our Disaster Hedges) and keep all body parts inside ride at all times. Well you know you can follow all of the safety instructions and STILL get smacked in the face with a black swan (like our friend Fabio, pictured here) which is why we elected to get back to cash ahead of this report. The markets were just too insane this week and who the heck knows if Europe will still be a Union on Monday or what the GDP number is going to be (but I do think it's a miss).
Since our biggest weekend fear is financial panic in Europe, our cash US dollars will become more valuable in a crisis and if the market drops, all the better as we can ride back in and do some bargain hunting. If the market takes off on good GDP and Greece is "fixed" and Spain is "fixed" and Portugal and Ireland are not really a problem (especially for MS and JPM) and the CRIMINAL charges against Goldman look beatable and and the Financial Reform Bill doesn't disrupt the market with a disorderly breakup of the big banks and the Bank of International Settlements Report continues to be ignored and the run on the Greek banks doesn't spread to other STUPID counties – well, then we can BUYBUYBUY because, if all this doesn't matter, then it's very likely that the entire planet Earth could explode but Wall Street will keep ticking higher.
Yep, I can't wait to ride this baby mindlessly higher! After all, what can go wrong? BIDU is ONLY $710 a share, BLK is $190, CMP is $76, GOLD is $84, BUCY is $65, FAST is $56, MMM is $90, FOSL $40, F $13.50, DECK $149, SHOO $55, TPX $35, LZB $14, CTB $22, NOG $16, CEO $176, FTI $75, CLB $150, CIB $46, BBD $19, TD $75, BCA $45, BAP $87, ITUB $22, EDU $94, WYNN $93, FFIV $72, CY $14, CREE $77, UPS $70, UNP $78…
by phil - November 1st, 2009 8:15 am
What a crazy month we had!
The Dow began the month of October at 9,712 and finished the month of October at EXACTLY 9,712. Now I don't want to say the market is manipulated but… No, I've got nothing, there are no buts – the market is totally manipulated! Either that or you believe that the random outcome of tens of millions of traders around the globe trading hundreds of billions of shares of stock would just so happen to begin and end the month within .50 after going as low as 9,378.77 (on the 5th) and as high as 10,157.94 (on the 21st). So that is literally a 1 out of the 779-point swing coincidence to hit that 9,712 nail on the head.
At PSW we couldn't be happier about this frankly. As I often say to members: We don't care IF the game is rigged, as long as we can figure out HOW the game is rigged so we can play along. We were bearish in our September 27th Wrap-Up when I predicted that Earnings season would bring about a "Return to Fundamentals." We targeted retrace moves of Dow 9,512, S&P 1,020, Nasdaq 2,030, NYSE 9,496 and Russell 556 – all of which we hit the following Friday.
That week I highlighted my fundamental market concerns and Monday (9/28) my topic was "6 Unemployed People Per Available Job," Tuesday I said "Consumer Confidence is Key," Wednesday we caught the turn perfectly as I predicted "End of Quarter, End of Pump," and Thursday, October 1st was the day that "REIT's Turned Rotten" – which was something we had been playing for during the September rally so we were thrilled with what is NOW the 2nd worst down day of the month. That was the day GS decided to agree with me that REITs were over-valued and gave us a signal that the Gang of 12 were no longer all on the same page. Friday, the 2nd, we were back to looking at the Jobs numbers when I asked "Is Anybody Working for the Weekend."
by phil - October 11th, 2009 8:21 am
I've been beefing up our bullish plays on the Watch List.
If we're going to get more bullish I thought it would be a good time to look for some bullish premises so we don't feel totally silly paying 20-year high p/e's for the S&P 500. Obviously, our main hope is that the stocks we buy will grow into their earnings so the next month's worth of reports will be key. The bar for corporate earnings is still set at very easy to beat levels yet, like this limbo-playing child, when they announce their beats of very low expectations we're going to get all excited and tell them how great they are doing.
The problem is, these are not kids who we hope may grow up one day to be President or CEOs of major companies. these ARE CEOs of major companies and they are being paid top salaries for top performance and we, the stock purchasing public, are paying top dollar for what should be SPECTACULAR performance, not beating 75% off last year's earnings by a penny!
When I am being asked to buy IBM back at it's all-time high or AMZN or BIDU or AM, PALM, NFLX, PCLN, URBN, UHS, CERN, CREE, GMCR, CY, SWM, TRLG, BKE, etc – then their performance better look like this:
Nothing against those particular companies, any individual company can be exceptional and beat the market, but - Are the companies we're buying really doing exceptional things or are have we just developed such ridiculously low expectations that we have been psychologically conditioned (and Wall Street firms employ armies of behavioral psychologists for a reason) to treat these stocks and the CEOs who run them like our children? If your child was the child in the above picture and I asked you for $20 to see her limbo show – you might pay it. If it's not your child though, would you even consider making an afternoon of it? No, of course not, for good money you expect to see the cool fire guy at the top of his game and that is what you should expect from companies trading at or near all-time highs – NO LESS!
by phil - September 10th, 2009 5:51 pm
Even though I said: "Once again we are in a market that environment that reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer jumps over a gorge, crashes, is taken up by a helicopter (Ben) smashing against the wall along the way only to fall all the way from the top again. Pain, pain and more pain every time we try to get long" – we still weren't fully prepared for the devastation that was to follow as the Dow fell from 7,500 to 6,500 in the next 10 days. My commentary on the environment the next day was:
According to Cap, someone on the YHOO message board was counting the number of times CNBC talking heads said "nationalization" this morning and, as of 8:15, they were up to 300 times. Sadly, this is the fear-mongering that is driving the markets to new lows while Cramer continues to keep his sheeple out of protective ETFs like SKF. So you have the man’s network telling you financials are going to zero while dog and pony boy tells his minions to sell ALL the financials, causing them to go to zero - even though they could hold on and protect themselves with conta-funds, if Cramer didn’t spend 3 days a week convincing his viewers contra-funds are poison. I’ve never seen anything like this outside of a racketerring investigation. Speaking of racketeering - Dennis Kucinich nailed it when he pinned that charge on Paulson and company back in November.
Our wall of worry continues to be a steep one. After yesterday’s failure we do not expect too much out of today, we’ll be happy to just see a bottom at this point but it’s looking a little more likely that we’re heading into a capitulation event that can take us down to frightening levels. The 60% line is a line the markets dare not cross but, as I pointed out yesterday, we already lost the SOX and the Nikkei, with the Hang Seng and the BSE hanging on by a thread. Let’s take these levels very seriously, if the administration can’t turn it around this week – the downward momentum can easily pick up steam.
by phil - August 15th, 2009 4:04 am
Well we're back to cash…
After getting off to a great start, up 12% in the first 3 weeks, we were lucky this week to get back to 12% after having a run of bad luck (or bad skill actually, as we went bearish too early and got punished for it). The goal of the $5,000 virtual portfolio is to play around the volatility of earnings and make no mistake, it's a high-risk way to trade $5,000 and is meant to be a small portion of a large virtual portfolio – not something you would want to do with your only $5,000. Of course the usual disclaimer is, this is a virtual portfolio, don't try this at home, trading is dangerous, always consult a professional financial adviser, etc, etc. The idea is to practice different option strategies and we're learning from our successes and failures – I hope!
Our first play 5 plays that we closed were on AA, DIA, SGR, MCD, and DELL, which had a total gain of $629 in our first 6 days. For details on those trades, go to the Day 6 post. We have been posting all of the moves for the $5KP in member chat, of course, but also on Seeking Alpha's Stock Talk, where we have discovered the added bonus that, like Twitter, you do not have to refresh the page to see new comments! If you want to follow these trades, just click on "Follow" under my picture and you will automatically see any comments made there. A full review of Stock Talk commentary regarding the $5KP is available here and please make sure you click "Follow" on my picture so that you will be able to track further updates.
We closed positions on WFC and AXP, up $258 in our last review on July 25th and we have since closed our YUM position with a $256 loss on the 28th, which was a shame as we gave up on 8 Aug $35 calls at .45 ($360) and they flew up to $2 ($1,600) just a week later. Unfortunately, in a small virtual portfolio, you don't have the luxury of riding out your losses and, at the time, we felt lucky to escape this underperfomer with a relatively small loss.
by Option Review - July 29th, 2009 4:47 pm
Today’s tickers: UUP, MBT, DISH & CY
UUP – As noted in our IB FX View earlier this morning, demand for the dollar as a safety play is emerging with notable declines of the other traditional safety plays of the yen and the Swiss franc against the dollar at least. One option investor is taking advantage of this dollar strength through a bearish stance using options on this dollar bullish index fund. The recent bearish tack for the dollar saw the price of this bull fund languish lately and its price reached a low at $23.35 for a 10-month low. The sudden reversal in the dollar’s fortunes has lifted shares to $23.70 earlier today. An option player sold calls at the nearby 24 strike and used the 25 cent premium to offset the richer cost of puts options at the same strike. Those 24 strike puts carry intrinsic value since they are already in the money. The investor is clearly dollar-bearish and doesn’t expect the near-term dollar advance to hold. – PowerShares US Dollar Index Bullish fund
MBT – The Russian cellular communications company appeared on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner today amid a more than 6.5% decline in shares to $38.29. Despite the current dip in price, investors seem to expect a brighter future, and were observed initiating bullish call spreads in the March 2010 contract. The March 40 strike price had 3,000 calls purchased for an average premium of 6.58 each, which were spread against the sale of 3,000 calls at the higher March 50 strike for 3.10 apiece. The net cost of positioning for a significant recovery in MBT amounts to 3.48. Investors stand to accumulate maximum profits of 6.52 per contract if shares can rally up to $50.00 by expiration. Shares will need to climb 14% from the current price in order for call-spreading traders to begin to amass profits at the breakeven price of $43.48. – Mobile TeleSystems OJSC
DISH – Shares of the subscription television services firm are currently lower by about 1.5% to $16.84. Investors fearful of further declines in the price of the underlying were seen getting long of put options in the September contract. Approximately 5,500 puts were purchased at the September 16 strike price for an average premium of 95 cents apiece. Profits will begin to amass to the downside in the event that shares fall…