by Option Review - January 26th, 2012 1:38 pm
Today’s tickers: DB, ATHN & LSI
DB - Deutsche Bank AG – Heavy trading traffic in Deutsche Bank put options this morning, one week before the investment banking firm is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings, may mean some traders are bracing for a pullback. Shares in DB are currently up 0.40% to stand at $43.80 as of 12:40 p.m. in New York. The single-largest put trade on the stock today was the purchase of 9,500 puts at the April $40 strike for a premium of $2.45 each. Though the put options were not marked as a spread against stock, it is possible the put buyer seeks to protect the value of shares already in his or her portfolio. Alternatively, the investor may be taking an outright bearish stance on DB over the next three months. In the latter scenario, the trader may profit if Deutsche Bank’s shares plunge 14.3% to breach the effective breakeven point at $37.55 at April expiration. Meanwhile, the purchase of a 2,000-lot Mar. $35/$45 put spread at a net premium of $2.75 per contract yields profits – or downside protection – to its owner in the event of a 3.5% decline below the breakeven share price of $42.25. Traders populating DB options are overwhelmingly favoring puts over calls ahead of earnings, with today’s put-call ratio hovering just below 15.0 and overall put-call interest greater than 1.4.
ATHN - athenahealth, Inc. – One cautiously optimistic investor appears to have purchased a sizable position in athenahealth put options this morning in order to hedge a long position in the stock. Shares in the provider of cloud-based business services for physician practices rose 1.05% to $57.91 this afternoon, extending gains realized earlier in the week on the heels of a new…
by Option Review - October 12th, 2011 1:51 pm
Today’s tickers: URBN, DB, HPQ & MCHP
URBN - Urban Outfitters, Inc. – Apparel and accessories retailer Urban Outfitters popped up on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner due to heavy trading traffic in near-term calls. Shares in the battered stock gained 4.3% in early-afternoon trade to stand at $24.56 by 12:10 pm EDT. The price of the underlying was pummeled in 2011, nearly halving from a 52-week high of $39.26 in March down to a two-year low of $21.47 on October 4. Shares are up 14.0% off their October low, and call buyers in the October contract stand to reap the benefits of potential bullish movement in the price of the underlying during the seven trading sessions that remain to expiration. Retail sales figures due out at the end of this week may help of hinder URBN’s recovery.
Trading traffic in Urban call options is heaviest at the Oct. $26 strike call, where more than 3,100 contracts changed hands against previously existing open interest of 1,359 positions. It looks like most of the calls were purchased by one investor for an average premium of $0.15 a-pop. The trader profits at expiration in the event that UBRN’s shares surge 6.5% over the current price of $24.56 to surpass the average breakeven point on the upside at $26.15. Shares in the apparel retailer last traded above $26.15 at the beginning of September.
DB - Deutsche Bank AG – Shares in Deutsche Bank joined those of European and American banks in rallying strongly on optimism Slovakian lawmakers will ultimately ratify the rescue fund plan. DB’s shares are up…
by Phil Davis - September 12th, 2011 6:54 am
That’s how much Greece is paying today to borrow money for a year! In theory, if you lend Greece $10,000 today, next year they will pay you back $20,800. In THEORY that is because, at 108% – IF they actually borrowed at that rate, you could be very sure that they would not be around to pay you. That’s the joke of this whole thing – we have these insanely unrealistic prices being set on bonds, which only hurts the people who have outstanding ones and need to redeem them as Greece doesn’t actually borrow money for even double-digit interest rates. It’s all a silly, artificial construct that is only useful in spreading panic among investors.
Unfortunately, investor panic is all you need to really destroy the Global economy – as we proved in 2008. As you can see from the chart on the right, we are currently mirroring the same path we took 3 years ago as we head into October and, in fact, our financial sector is performing WORSE than it did when we had ACTUAL major bank and minor country failures – not just rumors of them.
On Friday, Greece’s finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, blamed “organized rumors” for renewed speculation that Greece would default, and said the country intended to comply with all terms needed for the bailout that European countries agreed to in July. But the fact that the details of the deal have yet to be locked down has unnerved some investors.
In a speech this week, Josef Ackermann, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank, said it was not justifiable for politicians to demand that European banks raise more capital, as Christine Lagarde (DSK’s evil replacement), the head of the International Monetary Fund, had done. “It’s obvious,” he said, “that many European banks would not be able to handle writing down the sovereign bonds they hold on their banking books to market levels.”
But, he said, it would “risk undermining the credibility” of European bailout packages “if politicians were to now send out the signal that they do not believe in the success of those measures.” And, he argued, forcing banks to raise capital now would anger investors by forcing the dilution of current shareholders.
by Phil Davis - September 5th, 2011 7:54 am
Thank goodness the US is closed!
Europe is down a whopping 3.5% (so far) this morning, opening in free fall after Asia opened down about 2% on the average (but finishing at the day’s lows). Gold flew up to $1,906 before calming down but oil is down to $84.82 at 6:45 am as the Dollar tests it’s highs of 75.15 on the Euro’s fall to $1.41 and the Pound testing $1.61. Any thoughts that the BOJ was done manipulating the Yen are now officially out the window as the Dollar/Yen is STILL 76.80 (around 128.50 on FXY), the same place it’s been since August 8th!
When the World’s 3rd largest economy is manipulating it’s currency on a daily basis, of course the Global markets are going to be thrown into chaos. Every day the BOJ tries to debase their currency they must buy other currencies or foreign stocks or gold or silver or oil – ANYTHING BUT YEN to make the Yen less valuable as compared to another relative basis.
Even so, it’s not working and Japan’s new finance minister said this morning that he will try to forge a consensus among the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries that "excessive yen rises" won’t benefit the world economy when finance officials meet in France later this week. "I am hoping to see us develop a common view that excessive yen rises, as shown by facts and processes in the past, do not necessarily have a positive impact on the global economy," Mr. Azumi told reporters, referring to Friday’s planned meeting of G-7 finance ministers and central bank chiefs in Marseille, France. "At this exchange rate, it is becoming impossible for crucial parts of Japan’s export industry to make profits," he said.
Asian shares were already following US financials downhill on overblown fears of the FHFA lawsuit (see FHFA Friday). I say overblown because the first bank sued, ING, already settled for .20 on the Dollar so banks are reacting as if they already lost $30Bn when it’s much more likely this will all get washed away for $6Bn, or about 2 day’s worth of profits (4%). We’ve already seen the banking community write down over $1Tn in losses and survive to screw us over another day – do we really think this little wrist-slap will end them or is this just another example of retail suckers…
by Phil Davis - July 19th, 2011 8:29 am
NWS is down 20% of late.
Today we hear from the Murdoch family, owners of the venerated Wall Street Journal as well as Dow Jones, Inc., who will be explaining how their company allegedly broke the rules, lied, threatened and/or bribed almost everyone, engaged in cover-ups, slandered anyone who got in their way and callously ruined the lives of innocent people – all in the name of profits. Already Sean Hoare, the reporter who blew the whistle on Murdoch has been found dead inside his London apartment. "The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing," said a police statement.
Would that be the same British Police Department that’s had two high-level resignations over accepting bribes from Murdoch’s organization? The Daily Mirror newspaper quoted an unnamed friend as saying Hoare "thought that someone was going to come and get him, but I didn’t know whether to believe half the stuff he was saying." In other words, Hoare was poor and intimidated by NWS (he was refusing to testify against them) while the Murdochs are rich so every possible benefit of the doubt is being given to them just like Rebecca Nalepa was found with her hands and feet bound with a rope around he neck hung off a balcony in a San Diego mansion and the police there are thinking "suicide."
As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said: "The rich are different than you and me – they have more money." As Bill Domhoff pointed out this weekend, when we talk about the rich, we don’t mean the top 1% – people who "only" make $1.6M a year or more. Sure those of us in that group may have a "get out of jail free" card for when we speed and we may get our buildings approved quicker than most and we may get a local ordinance passed here or there but, when you move up to the top 0.1% ($36M or higher per year income) or the top 0.01% ($450M or higher annual income), where Mr. Murdoch lives – not only do you get both national and international laws rewritten to suit your needs (like taking over 100% of the UKs satellite broadcasts), but the other laws don’t even apply to you.
by Phil Davis - April 13th, 2011 7:57 am
Why are they bouncing? Why not? We went down and people love to buy those dips and that means they are just going to love this chart, courtesy of Barry Ritholtz’s team. We don’t get our next Case-Shiller data point until the 26th but we did get mortgage applications this week and they are down ANOTHER 6.7%. This is despite the fact that an average 30-year mortgage is still just 4.98%.
I know that we have been trained to ignore supply and demand in commodities as well as to pretend that all prices are inelastic and that American consumers will buy anything at any price because they are generally mindless sheep that you can lead into anything with the right jingle but, if they are not willing to buy a $250,000 home with a 5% mortgage – what’s going to happen when that mortgage is 6%?
At 5%, a $250,000 mortgage has a monthly payment of $1,342.05. At 6% that payment jumps up to $1,498.88 – 10.5% higher! At 7% it’s $1,663.26, 24% higher – that’s the "cost" of housing as rates tick higher but, of course, that will force housing prices even lower to compensate and the Fed will tell us that inflation is low because home prices will be falling faster than food prices are rising – so we have that to look forward to…
I mentioned yesterday that China tightened their rates and home prices in Beijing fell 26.7% in the month of March. I waited all day to read more about it in the WSJ or Bloomberg or to see them discussing this on CNBC but no – it’s not the kind of news they want you to hear so – for your own good, it is not mentioned. I had to find this news in Business China but it’s also in the China Daily and the People Daily but where it isn’t is in any US newspaper I’ve looked at and neither is there mention of the problem caused by giant-sized, irradiated Asians poking buildings with sticks! (just kidding).
We talk about Chinese censorship and control of information but what is this? If a Nigerian Rebel spits at a pipeline or if a Somali Pirate even glances in the direction of an oil tanker – it’s on the front page of the papers (sometimes before it…
by Phil Davis - January 31st, 2011 8:21 am
Is it safe?
I asked that question at the end of November in "Timid Tuesday – Is It Safe" and here we are, 60 days later and up 7.5% and, on the whole, feeling less safe than we did back then, when the Market Oracle and I seemed to be the only people concerned global inflation and sovereign default risks rising rapidly. Although we were playing the market bullishly, with our aggressive $10,000 Virtual Portfolio (and make sure you check out our brand new $25,000 Virtual Portfolio that begins today with a $100,000 goal by December 31st) we decided to try to take from $26,000 to $50,000 by Jan 21st (we only made $35,000), our Breakout Defense Plays (5,000% in 5 Trades or Less) and our Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges – it was with one hand on the exit door at all times. As I said at the close of Timid Tuesday’s article: "This house of cards is teetering folks – please be careful out there!"
That was 60 days ago. We’re a lot older now and have learned a lot about the World since then. We learned that China, Japan and the IMF are all ready, willing and able to buy the bonds of various EU nations. We learned that the Dollar can still fall 5% (was 81.44 on November 30th) further down despite Europe’s very obvious problems and Japan’s MASSIVE 200% Debt to GDP ratio. We learned that Uncle Ben will never stop printing money (until forced) and we learned that commodities can rise much faster than even our aggressive "Secret Santa" plays anticipated, with every one of our hedges (XHB, XLE, DBA and XLF) already over our year-end targets, all on track for gains well over 100%.
After watching our Alpha 2 pattern break (as I predicted it would on Monday morning) for the week, we went a lot more bearish on Thursday when I said in that morning post:
Keep in mind that gold and silver are our defensive plays. In Member Chat yesterday, Jromeha mentioned he’s 80% in cash and 85% short the market on the 20% in play and I said I thought that was an excellent way to play what I felt was a blow-off top after the Fed. We added 2 disaster hedges yesterday, a TZA spread that pays 500% if we get to $17 by
by Phil Davis - December 22nd, 2010 7:46 am
A Trillion Dollars – Muhaha!
After adding $209Bn (26.3%) in total assets so far this year, the US ETF industry has passed the Trillion Dollar mark led by $31Bn of inflows into fixed income ETFs, of all things as well as $29Bn of inflows into emerging markets, and $21Bn into domestic. Recent outflows have knocked commodity ETFs down to $11.4Bn, miles down from last year’s $32.6Bn inflow – rats leaving a sinking ship, perhaps? That would be very bad news for the firm that bought up 90% of the LME copper supply recently. Do ETF traders really know something or are they a lagging indicator?
“There is little doubt that money chases performance, so the bedrock for significant (ETF asset) growth is clearly a continuing move higher for risk assets,” said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group. He added that growth for ETF assets would essentially be a “tug of war” between hedge funds and retail investors. “As retail investors grow more confident in a continued rally in risk assets, they will shift capital from cash to equity ETFs,” said Mr Colas, who described growth for equity focused hedge funds as the “other side of the growth coin” for ETFs.
Mr Colas noted that hedge funds tended to use ETFs on the short side which was negative for asset growth. He said that as hedge funds expanded their equity trading books, a growing portion would come from from ETF short sales. “This will come through as ‘supply’, dampening demand for new shares.” Barry Ritholtz ponders the end game of the ETF madness and concludes that soon there will be more ETFs than ever:
There is growing speculation surrounding what is believed to be the next breakthrough product in the ETF marketplace: Single stock tracking ETFs. Unlike their index-based cousins, these new single stock trackers would, as the name implies, track only a single stock, trade at exactly the same price as the stock to which they’re linked and consequently eliminate the need for single stock ownership. A top executive with a money management firm who is familiar with his company’s plans to launch such a product and was granted anonymity so he could speak freely, put it this way: “Think about the prospect of, say, a GE tracking ETF — an investor could capture over 99% of the movement of GE
by Phil Davis - December 20th, 2010 8:28 am
I’m still worried about Europe.
Everyone else seems to have forgotten, including the Europeans. The Stoxx EU 600 Index hit its highest point since September 2008 this morning as commodities continued to climb (another chance to short oil futures below the $89 line). The Stoxx 600 is up 6.5% for the month and up 9.9% for the year. We had talked about gold, oil and the S&P in my Weekend Post; all are up about 10% in the second half of the year as the dollar fell 3.5%. This morning, the dollar is hugging that 80.75 line, still 10% off it’s June high. If Europe really is "fixed" then the dollar is free to drop back to it’s lows, which could provide tremendous rally fuel for stocks and commodities.
Moody’s warned it may lower Spain’s rating, citing "substantial funding requirements" and France is on Credit Watch and Belgium faces a rate cut at Moody’s as well while Standard and Poor’s is reviewing its assessments of Ireland, Portugal and Greece. The credit default swaps tied to the French bonds imply a rating of Baa1, seven steps below its actual top ranking of Aaa at Moody’s but, if it doesn’t bother the Europeans – why should it bother us?
There is no (ZERO) logic to global markets racing back to all-time highs with the VIX running back to it’s lows as if there is not a care in the World and I don’t say that because I’m a bitter short – we had 16 bullish trade ideas last week and just 8 bearish ones as we simply threw up our hands and played the technicals in Member Chat as the Dow tested that magical 11,500 line. Europe reads the same news we do and markets over there are up 1% this morning despite a pretty poor performance turned in by China, where the Shanghai fell 1.4% (and that was AFTER a 50% recovery into the close) and the Hang Seng fell 0.3% (also big recovery into the close) and the Nikkei fell 0.85% (small afternoon recovery) and the BSE, our global leader into November, weakly flat-lined 5% off its highs.
by Phil Davis - September 27th, 2010 7:18 am
Hope springs eternal at Goldman Sachs.
This morning our favorite Banksters goosed the EU markets by upping targets on international mining operators Kazakhmys, Lonmin and BHP and that got the European markets off to a flying start out of the gate, despite the fact that UBS had just DOWNgraded the same sector on Friday. UBS said on Friday that the sector is facing difficult times concerning potential growth with government rulings on mineral leases and the proposed supertax on mining profits in Australia set to hinder metal-based stocks.
We also have a lot of M&A activity, also courtesy of GS, who are leading the resurgence this year with 225 deals to date worth $401.6Bn, accounting for about 20% of all activity going through Goldman’s sticky fingers. In a sign of the times, however, GS only generated $961M in revenues as an M&A advisor as they cut a lot of discounts in order to land the top spot in dealmaking. Although outdealt by GS, MS, Rothchild, JPM and DB all made more in fees than the Uncle Lloyd show.
In a sign of the end of times, GS’s London Headquarters has been taken over by lenders after the owner fell into receivership. GS’s landlord, Antedon, is an offshore real estate firm that bought the building for $500M at the top of the market in 2007 and GS has locked up the building through 2026 at what seems to be not enough money to keep Antedon liquid – it would be very interesting to trace the web of deals that led to this massive default.
Meanwhile, the consortium of Irish investors that own GS’s other London building are also bailing out, this action is coinciding with what Ireland’s Independent says is a campaign by Wall Street Hedge Funds to short sell Irish Government Bonds. US hedge funds Groveland Capital and Corrientes Advisors are thought to have taken major positions against Irish debt. Giant €60bn asset-manager Pictet also revealed that it had earlier bet against Irish government bonds. JP Morgan is also thought to have taken a bearish position on Irish debt. The International Monetary Fund estimated that up to €3bn of Ireland’s debt was being targeted by speculators through the uses of derivatives.