by Option Review - May 1st, 2013 5:53 pm
Today’s tickers: CBS, DWA & EEM
by Option Review - August 9th, 2012 2:36 pm
Today’s tickers: EEM, ETFC & S
EEM - iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF – Shares in the EEM increased roughly 7% in the past two weeks and a large call butterfly spread initiated this morning suggests one options market participant is positioning for the price of the underlying to tack on another 7% in the next six weeks. The one-by-two-by-one limited risk strategy could pay off handsomely at September expiration if shares in the EEM rally to their highest since early-April. Shares in the ETF are currently up 0.50% on the day at $40.55 as of 1:25 p.m. in New York. The butterfly spread was constructed through the purchase of 40,000 calls at each of the Sept. $42 and $45 strikes, marked against the sale of 80,000 calls at the Sept. $43.5 strike, all for a net premium outlay of $0.22 apiece. The trade starts making money in the event EEM shares rally 4% to surpass the breakeven point at $42.22, with maximum possible profits of $1.28 per contract available given a 7.3% move higher in the share price to $43.50. The risk-reward ratio works in the trader’s favor; losses are limited to $0.22 per contract but maximum potential profits are nearly six times that amount should the ETF’s shares settle at the central strike price by expiration next month.
ETFC - E*Trade Financial Corp. – News that online broker, E*Trade Financial Corp., gave CEO Steven J. Freiberg the pink slip was well-received by investors today, with the shares trading up as much as 7.2% to an intraday high of $8.60 in the first half of the session. Options on ETFC are more active than usual Options volume on the e-broker, pushing 9,000 contracts just before midday in New York, is more than two times the average daily volume for the stock. Calls are far more active than put options with a call-to-put ratio hovering around 7-to-1. Fresh interest building in short-term upside calls…
by Phil Davis - October 4th, 2011 8:06 am
Has it been a week already?
That’s right – last Tuesday our title, after 3 bullish days, was "S&P 1,200 or Bust (again)" and bust we did! At the time I said "It’s not that I’m flip-flopping – we’re simply playing the range and if the trip from the bottom to the top of the range is just 2 days – then flip-flop we must!" Our bearish hedge in that morning’s Alert to Members was 30 DXD Oct $18/20 bull call spread at .70 ($2,100) offset by the sale of 10 GE Jan $15 puts at $1.05 ($1,050). DXD is already at $21.34 and the bull call spread is $1.30 (30 = $3,900) while the 10 GE short puts are $1.75 ($1,750) for a net $2,150, up 105% in the first week – even if the short puts were not stopped out with a smaller loss.
We also ran our Long Put List that morning (see Weekend Reading for recap of that strategy and list of short trade ideas) and those, of course, are up huge across the board as things got so bad yesterday we even had to short IBM – our list’s last brave holdout. Another fun short we played that day was a ratio backspread on CMG.
Taking advantage of selling into the pre-earnings excitement, we were able to add the following trade to our virtual $25,000 Portfolio:
Earnings are on the 20th, the day before expirations so I like the volatility crush of selling 5 $340 calls for $9 ($4,500) and buying 3 Dec $350s for $15 ($4,500) for a free spread. No matter what CMG does, $4,500 of premium will be gone from the callers on Oct 21st, then the Nov whatevers can be sold, hopefully for another $4,500 in premium or perhaps we can just pull the trade so let’s do one set in the $25KP and see how it goes.
CMG took a nice dip since then (now $292) and the 5 Oct $340 calls fell to $2.20 ($1,100) but the 3 Dec $350s have held $8.60 ($2,580) for a net profit of $1,480 off a trade that cost no cash just 7 days ago. These are the kinds of trades we love around earnings season. We didn’t need to hold it for a month and now we can free up the margin (about…
by Option Review - May 17th, 2011 4:18 pm
Today’s tickers: LYB, EEM, JACK & MWW
LYB - LyondellBasell Industries NV – Two sizable bullish options trades on the chemical manufacturer indicate strategists expect shares in LyondellBasell Industries to rise significantly over the next four months. Shares in the Rotterdam-based company increased as much as 2.9% today to secure an intraday high of $39.22 on a positive note from analysts at Morgan Stanley. A ratio call spread in the September contract was one of the two bullish plays initiated on LYB during the first half of the session. The investor responsible for the transaction purchased 6,500 calls at the September $40 strike for a premium of $2.90 each, and sold 13,000 calls up at the September $46 strike at a premium of $0.95 apiece. The net cost of putting on the spread amounts to just $0.10 per contract. Profits are available on the position if shares in the chemical company rally another 2.2% over today’s high of $39.22 to surpass the average breakeven price of $40.10 by expiration day in September. Maximum potential profits of $5.90 per contract pad the investor’s wallet in the event that shares surge 17.3% to settle at $46.00 at expiration. Shares in LYB traded as high as $48.12 at the beginning of May, the highest since the company’s emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2010. The short stance in twice as many September $46 strike calls lowers the net cost of the trade substantially, but also adds an element of risk for the investor. Losses on the uncovered calls kick in if the price of the underlying stock jumps 32.3% in the next several months to surpass the upper breakeven price of $51.90 at expiration. Next, it appears a different bullish strategist purchased 10,000 calls at the June $39 strike for a premium of $1.80 each, and sold the same number of calls out at the September $45 strike for an average premium of $1.275 a-pop. The trader paid a net premium of $0.525 per contract…
by Option Review - April 5th, 2011 4:03 pm
Today’s tickers: EEM, GG, ARUN & XLI
EEM - iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF – Options volume on the EEM has topped 525,000 contracts in the first two hours of the trading session after one big emerging-markets bull banked substantial profits on a previously established position, and extended his optimistic view on the fund through May expiration. Shares in the EEM are down one penny on the session to stand at $49.86 as of 11:15am in New York. It looks like the strategist accumulated upside exposure on the ETF during the month of March, buying a 100,000-lot April $50/$52 call spread for an average premium of $0.20 per contract on March 8th and 9th, when shares in the fund were hovering around $43.89. The subsequent 13.5% rise in the price of the underlying since the transaction was initiated lifted premium on the calls, allowing the options trader to sell the 100,000-lot call spread for $0.46 per contract this morning. The call-spreader pockets average net profits of $0.26 per contract, or around $2.6 million, on this leg of the transaction. Next, the EEM-optimist constructed a fresh debit call spread in the May contract, buying 100,000 calls at the May $51 strike at a premium of $0.80 each, and selling the same number of calls at the higher May $53 strike for a premium of $0.22 a-pop. Net premium paid to initiate the transaction amounts to $0.58 per contract. Thus, the trader is poised to profit in the event that shares in the EEM rally 3.4% over the current price of $49.86 to surpass the effective breakeven point— and a new 52-week high— of $51.58 by expiration day next month. Maximum potential profits of $1.42 per contract, or $14.2 million, are available to the investor should shares in the ETF surge 6.3% to trade above $53.00 by May expiration. Finally, the sale of two sizable chunks of in-the-money April contract call options generated big gains for another EEM-bull this morning. It looks like the…
by Option Review - February 15th, 2011 4:33 pm
Today’s tickers: DELL, AKAM, NWL & EEM
DELL - Dell, Inc. – Bearish sentiment on the personal computer maker is building in options land this afternoon ahead of Dell’s fourth-quarter earnings report after the final bell. Shares in the tech company are currently down 1.5% to stand at $13.88 just after 12:30pm in New York. One big options strategist is well-positioned to benefit from limited downside movement in the price of the underlying shares through March expiration. The investor purchased a massive put spread, picking up 25,000 lots at the March $13 strike for a premium of $0.24 each, and selling the same number of puts at the lower March $12 strike at a premium of $0.08 apiece. Net premium paid to initiate the pessimistic play amounts to $0.16 per contract. The trader starts to make money in the event that Dell’s shares drop 7.5% from the current price of $13.88 to breach the effective breakeven point on the spread at $12.84 ahead of expiration day. Maximum potential profits of $0.84 per contract are available to the put player should shares in the name plunge 13.5% lower to trade below $12.00 in the time remaining to March expiration. Dell, Inc. options are popular ahead of earnings, with more than 137,000 contracts having changed hands in early-afternoon trade. Options implied volatility is up slightly by 3.0% to stand at 36.29% as of 12:40pm.
AKAM - Akamai Technologies, Inc. – A three-legged bullish options combination play on the provider of cloud optimization services caught our eye this morning. The strategist responsible for the transaction is positioning for Akamai’s shares to continue to rise ahead of March expiration. Shares in AKAM are currently up 1.2% at $42.60 just before 11:30am in New York. The stock took a big hit last week, falling as much…
by Option Review - January 19th, 2011 4:14 pm
Today’s tickers: EEM, MRVL, BCSI & XRT
EEM - iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF – A number of large-volume spreads on the emerging markets fund this morning signal investor pessimism on the sector through February expiration. Shares of the EEM, an exchange-traded fund designed to measure equity market performance in the global emerging markets, fell 0.50% to $47.62 by 12:20pm in New York. Three-legged bearish spreads, wherein investors sold out-of-the-money calls to partially finance the purchase of put spreads, are popular with strategists populating the EEM today. The larger of two similar bearish plays involved the sale of 15,500 calls up at the February $52 strike for a premium of $0.05 each, purchase of the same number of puts at the February $47 strike at a premium of $0.96 apiece, and the sale of 15,500 puts at the lower February $43 strike for premium of $0.19 each. The net cost of the transaction amounts to $0.72 per contract and positions the responsible party to profit should shares in the EEM decline another 2.80% from the current price of $47.62 to breach the effective breakeven point to the downside at $46.28 ahead of February expiration day. Maximum potential profits of $3.28 per contract are available to the trader should shares in the ETF drop 9.7% lower to trade below $43.00 before the contracts expire next month. A like-minded tactician established a similar spread, but sold call and put options at closer-to-the-money strikes to further reduce the premium required to take a bearish stance on the fund. This options player sold 14,000 of the February $50 strike calls, picked up 14,000 puts at the February $47 strike, and sold the same number of puts at the February $43 strike. The trader paid a net premium of $0.24 per contract and breaks even on the spread if the EEM’s shares decline 1.80% to trade below $46.76 ahead of expiration. Maximum potential profits of $1.76 per contract pad the investor’s wallet should shares dip below $45.00 at expiration next month. Selling calls at the February $50 and $52 strikes reduces the cost of the bearish spreads, but is not a riskless tactic to employ. Investors are on the hook to deliver…
by Option Review - November 12th, 2010 4:44 pm
Today’s tickers: NVDA, GMCR, EEM & GLD
NVDA - Nvidia Corp. – It appears that Nvidia’s strategic change might be paying off after challenges to its core chipset business from AMD and Intel threatened to derail its fortunes. Earlier results showed profits beat expectations albeit by a penny but prompted the company to raise revenue forecasts in a sign of a revival in personal computer demand. The company’s revival involves new products in the market for chips that run add-in graphics to computers. The success is reviving investors’ appetite for the stock, which had earlier lost one-third of its value during 2010. On September 24, our market scanners picked up on a brace of bullish calendar call spreads on the stock using nearby January and March options against January 2012 call options. At the time there were also suggestions in the market that Oracle might be looking to acquire Nvidia. Following a near-8% pop in the stock today to $13.63 the investors appears to be taking a healthy profit on at least part of the trade by selling almost 20,000 January calls at the $14 strike and buying back a similar short position in the January 2012 calls at the $22.50 strike. The bullish positioning at the time cost this investor a mere 16 cents to enact and from what we can tell this morning the trade was closed at a healthy 81% gain.
GMCR - Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. – We’re not quite sure the reason behind a three-day slump in shares at operator of the fast-growing Keurig single-cup coffee brewer is, but shares have slumped by 11% to $31.05 on Friday. Perhaps investors are expecting demand destruction as a shortage of beans sends coffee futures above $2.00 per pound. However, perhaps growing threats to the niche market are…
by Option Review - November 10th, 2010 4:22 pm
Today’s tickers: VIA B, BJ, MRK, EEM, PETM & C
VIA B - Viacom, Inc. Class B – Options on the global entertainment content company are active ahead of the release of the firm’s third-quarter earnings report before the opening bell tomorrow. Investors are establishing both bullish and bearish positions on Viacom using near-term put and call options. Viacom’s shares are currently up 0.15% at $38.09 with just fewer than thirty minutes remaining in the trading session. Traders fearing the price of the underlying stock could fall following earnings initiated bear put spreads. Put players picked up approximately 3,000 in-the-money puts at the November $38 strike for an average premium of $0.77 each, and sold about the same number of puts at the lower November $36 strike for an average premium of $0.14 a-pop. Average net premium required to purchase the spread amounts to $0.63 per contract. Thus, investors are prepared to profit, or realize downside protection, in the event that shares in Viacom fall 1.9% from the current price of $38.09 to breach the average breakeven point at $37.37 by expiration day. Maximum potential profits of $1.37 per contract are available if VIA’s shares plunge 5.5% lower to trade below $36.00 by November expiration. Meanwhile, investors taking bullish stances ahead of earnings looked to the November $39 strike to purchase approximately 1,600 calls for an average premium of $0.32 per contract. Call buyers profit if Viacom’s shares rally 3.2% to surpass the average breakeven price of $39.32 by expiration day.
BJ - BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. – Reports that the warehouse club operator is considering hiring an advisor to review options including a potential sale to a leveraged-buyout firm in a deal that could net as much as $3 billion sent shares flying higher today and drew speculators to the…