SPLK - Splunk, Inc. – Options on software and data analysis company, Splunk, Inc., are far more active than usual this morning, with volume topping 4,600 contracts versus the stock’s average daily options volume of 670 contracts, as of 11:20 a.m. ET. Shares in the name are up better than 6% on the day to stand at $31.63, the highest level since October 2012. Traders positioning for shares in the name to extend gains in the near term snapped up January and February expiry call options. Upside calls with one full trading week remaining to expiration looked to the Jan. $30 and $35 strikes, purchasing around 500 and 220 contracts at those striking prices, at average premiums of $0.92 and $0.11 apiece, respectively. Bullish activity spread to the Feb. $35 strike where around 450 calls were purchased for an average premium of $0.41 each, preparing buyers to profit at February expiration in the event that Splunk shares rally another 12% to exceed the average breakeven price of $35.41. But, not all of the activity is in SPLK calls; trading traffic is also robust in the Jan. $30 strike put options. Traders exchanged around 1,300 puts at the Jan. $30 strike versus previously existing open interest of 446 contracts. Put players paid an average premium of $0.42 per contract, and may profit at expiration in the event that Splunk’s shares slip 6.5% from the current price to trade below $29.58.
GNK - Genco Shipping & Trading, Ltd. – Call options looking for shares in drybulk shipping company, Genco Shipping & Trading, Ltd., to rally substantially during the next five weeks were active this morning as shares in the name moved higher. The stock gained more than 4% during the first 15 minutes of the session, hitting an intraday high of $4.24. However, the stock was unable to hang onto earlier gains, and currently trades down 4% on the day at $3.91 as of 12:40 p.m. in New York. Traders positioning for Genco’s shares to extend the start-of-session rally purchased more than…
GM - General Motors Co. – A couple of bullish bets in options covering automobile manufacturer, General Motors, may prove prudent investments for some strategists should shares in GM increase approximately 15.0% by January expiration. Shares in the Detroit, MI-based company are on the rise in early-afternoon trade, standing 0.45% higher on the session at $26.54 as of 12:10 pm in New York. It looks like options players initiated two ratio call spreads this morning. The larger of the transactions involved the purchase of 3,602 calls at the Jan. 2012 $26 strike at a premium of $2.82 each, against the sale of 7,204 calls up at the Jan. 2012 $30 strike for a premium of $1.22 apiece. Net premium paid for the spread amounts to $0.38 per contract, thus positioning the trader to make money should shares in the automaker exceed the effective breakeven price of $26.38 at expiration in January. The investor could rake in maximum potential profits of $3.62 per contract in the event that shares in GM rally 13.0% to settle at $30.00 at expiration next year. Meanwhile, the smaller and more optimistic of the trades engaged the purchase of 1,000 Jan. 2012 $27 strike calls for an average premium of $2.37 each, and the sale of twice as many of the Jan. 2012 $31 strike contracts at an average premium of $0.97 a-pop. The net cost of the spread amounts to $0.43 apiece, and therefore an average breakeven share price of $31.43. Maximum potential profits of $3.57 per contract are available on the trade should shares in the car maker surge 16.8% to settle at $31.00 at expiration day. Shares in GM last traded above $31.00 back in mid-July.
BCSI - Blue Coat Systems, Inc. – Call options on Blue…
Between China's dismal trade deficit data (desperately defended by several sell-side strategists proclaiming it's just lunar new year 'noise' - aside from the fact that all the same strategists 'knew' the dates and still missed by 6 standard deviations) and the esclalations in Ukraine, it appears 'confidence' is a little shaken in the status quo. JPY has opened notably stronger dragging Yen carry trades lower and implying notable losses on the open for stock futures...
At Friday's close the eight markets on my world watch list turned in a mixed weekly performance, with four winners and four losers. The spread between the 3.79% rally for India's SENSEX and the -3.52% rout for Germany's DAXK is the largest of the 10 weekly closes in 2014 the the gang of eight. Japan's Nikkei finished in second with a 2.92% gain. And the S&P 500 took third place with an even one percent rise for the week. Germany was joined by the other two European indexes on my watch list for the bottom trio.
The Shanghai Composite remains the only index on the watch list in bear territory -- the traditional designation for a 20% decline from an interim high. See the table inset (lower right) in the ...
The Global X Social Media Index ETF (Ticker: SOCL) touched fresh record highs on Thursday morning, surprising no one given the top three holdings of the Fund are Hong Kong-based Tencent Holdings (12.678%), Facebook Inc. (12.506%) and LinkedIn Corp. (8.166%), which are up 130%, 160% and 22%, respectively, since this time last year. The SOCL reflects the performance of companies involved in the social media industry, including companies that provide social networking, file sharing and other web-based media applications. Shares in the ETF rose 1.3% today to a new high of $23.00, and have soared approximately 65% since this time last year.
Today brought three better than expected economic releases from Construction Spending, ISM Manufacturing, and Personal Income. The ISM figure was quite unexpected and Personal Income was well above expectations. If we ignore for a moment that the Final GDP reading for Q4 was lowered on Friday (which may or may not have been primarily caused by severe weather), we have had a week of better than expected economic numbers. Corporate earnings have also continued to exceed forecasts, albeit with a bit more cautious guidance.
Of course, none of that matters when the “war drums” start beating. Russia and the Ukraine are engaged in a serious game of “chicken” with a bear in the hen house. The Russian ruble has borne the brunt of the damage so far with a double digit drop today again...
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Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.
And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014? The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.
As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...
Welcome to the fouth update of the IRA Virtual Portfolio. First I am going to summarize the current state of the Portfolio then I will get into all the activity we had during September expiration.
Profit and Loss – Net of closed positions the portfolio is up a total of $769
Market Commentary – Last expiration I said, "I would like to put a total of $20,000 to work by the end of SEP expiration. If the VIX pops up to around 20 I plan to put about $50,000 total to work." The market didn't quite reach the goal but I did manage to deploy $15,000 of buying power. I still feel the market is too high and expect a correction during October. If the vix pops up to around 20 I still plan to put about $50,000 to work. If a correction doesn't happen I still plan to have a total of $25,000 in buying power put to work by October expiration. Now on to the act...
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