VZ - Verizon Communications, Inc. – Upside call options are in play on Verizon this morning, with shares in the wireless carrier up better than 2.1% on the session at $44.53 on an upgrade to ‘Overweight’ from ‘Neutral’ with a 12-month target price of $50.00 at Piper Jaffray. Traders positioning for shares in Verizon to rise to their highest level since October 2012 picked up roughly 1,700 calls at the May $46 strike for an average premium of $0.64 apiece. Call buyers stand ready to profit at May expiration should shares in VZ rally another 4.7% to top the average breakeven price of $46.64. Nearer-term bullish activity is notable in the Feb. $44 strike calls, where upwards of 3,400 in-the-money options changed hands in the early going. It looks like most of these calls were purchased at an average premium of 0.82 each. Traders long the $44 strike call options make money if shares in Verizon top $44.82 by expiration in two weeks.
FINL - Finish Line, Inc. – Shares in the specialty retailer of athletic footwear and accessories are trading modestly higher on Friday, up 0.20% at $18.68 on a strong up-day for U.S. stocks. Trading traffic in Finish Line options this morning suggests one or more traders are preparing for shares in the name to slip to a new 52-week low during the next few months. Investors in the retailer have had a rough six months, with the price of the underlying declining more than 30% off a six-month high of $24.90 in September, down to a 52-week low of $16.87 on January 8th. Options traders positioning for Finish Line’s shares to pullback purchased roughly 675 puts at the May $17.5 strike for an average premium of $0.98 apiece this morning. Put buyers may profit if shares in FINL drop 11.5% from the current price of $18.68 to trade below the breakeven point at $16.52. Indianapolis-based Finish Line reports fourth-quarter earnings at the end of March.…
XLK - Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF – A sizable short straddle on the Technology SPDR ETF comprises nearly all of the day’s options volume generated on the fund as of 1:00pm in New York. It looks like the investor responsible for the transaction is hoping to see the price of the underlying settle as close to $26.00 as possible by expiration day next month. Shares in the XLK, an exchange-traded fund that corresponds to the price and yield performance of the Technology Select Sector of the S&P 500 Index, increased as much as 1.0% during the session to secure an intraday high of $25.94. The straddle-strategist appears to have sold 15,000 calls and 15,000 in-the-money puts at the May $26 strike to pocket gross premium of around $1.08 per contract. The investor keeps the full amount of premium received on the trade if shares in the XLK settle at $26.00 at expiration. The trader may walk away with some portion of the total premium as long as the ETF’s shares trade within the range of $27.08 to the upside, and $24.92 on the downside, through expiration in May. The short-straddle player will also benefit from declines in options implied volatility and the passage of time, as both factors erode premium on the options and cheapen the cost of buying back the straddle, should he choose to do so, at some future date.
FCS - Fairchild Semiconductor International – May contract call activity on the semiconductor maker appears to be the work of an options player taking a bullish stance on Fairchild ahead the company’s Thursday morning first-quarter earnings report. Shares in the San Jose, CA-based company are currently down 1.2% to stand at $19.00 in early-afternoon trade. The options strategist initiated a debit call spread, buying roughly 2,200 calls at the May $21 strike for an average premium of $0.60 each, and selling the same number of calls up at the May $23 strike at an average premium…
DISH – DISH Network Corp. – The implementation of a ratio put spread on the U.S. provider of direct broadcast satellite subscription television service this afternoon was perhaps put on by an investor looking to lock in recent share price gains. DISH shares, which are currently up 2.4% on the day to arrive at $20.77 by 3:40 pm ET, have rebounded nearly 17.5% since touching down to $17.75 on July 1, 2010. It looks like one trader purchased 3,000 puts at the December $20 strike for an average premium of $1.58 each, and sold 6,000 puts at the lower December $18 strike for an average premium of $0.83 a-pop. The investor responsible for the transaction receives a net credit of $0.08 per contract, and keeps the full amount at long as DISH’s shares exceed $20.00 through December expiration. The trader is perhaps utilizing the spread to protect the value of a position in the underlying shares. If this is the case, downside protection kicks in should shares reverse course to trade below $20.00 by expiration day. The decision to employ a ratio spread rather than a 1-by-1 spread or a plain-vanilla long put stance suggests this investor does not expect DISH shares to collapse ahead of expiration at the end of 2010. The firm is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell on August 9, 2010.
LBTYA – Liberty Global, Inc. – It looks like one options strategist expects shares of the international producer of video, voice and broadband internet services to remain range-bound through October expiration. Liberty Global’s shares are currently down 0.20% to stand at $29.65 as of 3:05 pm ET. LBTYA reported an adjusted net loss of $2.42 a share for the second quarter of 2010 after the market closed on Tuesday. But, shares moved very little following earnings. Perhaps the lack of fluctuation in the price of the underlying shares during earnings season bolstered the strangle seller’s premonition that LBTYA’s shares are likely to trade within a specified range for the next couple of months. The investor appears to have sold roughly 10,000 puts at the October $27.5 strike for a premium of $0.70 each in combination with the sale of about the same number of calls at the October $32.5 strike for an average premium of $0.35 apiece. The trader pockets…
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
The state Department of Health is closely monitoring this potential case and is working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that all appropriate protocols are being followed to protect public health and safety.
This patient is undergoing testing at Bellevue Hospital, which is one of the eight hospitals statewide that Governor Cuomo designate...
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) released this yesterday puts the September year-over-year inflation rate at 1.66%, off the May 19-month high of 2.13%. It is well below the 3.87% average since the end of the Second World War and 29 percent below its 10-year moving average.
For a comparison of headline inflation with core inflation, which is based on the CPI excluding food and energy, see this monthly feature.
For better understanding of how CPI is measured and how it impacts your household, see my Inside Look at CPI components.
For an even closer look at how the components are behaving, see this X-Ray View of the data for the past six months.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has compiled CPI...
There is lots of action in Southwest Airlines Co. November expiry call options today ahead of the air carrier’s third-quarter earnings report prior to the opening bell on Thursday. Among the large block trades initiated throughout the trading session, there appears to be at least one options market participant establishing a call spread in far out of the money options. It looks like the trader purchased a 4,000-lot Nov 37/39 call spread at a net premium of $0.40 apiece. The trade makes money if shares in Southwest rally 9.0% over the current price of $34.32 to exceed the effective breakeven point at $37.40, with maximum potential profits of $1.60 per contract available in the event that shares jump more than 13% to $39.00 by expiration. In September, the stock tou...
Last week brought even more stock market weakness and volatility as the selloff became self-perpetuating, with nobody mid-day on Wednesday wanting to be the last guy left holding equities. Hedge funds and other weak holders exacerbated the situation. But the extreme volatility and panic selling finally led some bulls (along with many corporate insiders) to summon a little backbone and buy into weakness, and the market finished the week on a high note, with continued momentum likely into the first part of this week.
Despite concerns about global economic growth and a persistent lack of inflation, especially given all the global quantitative easing, fundamentals for U.S. stocks still look good, and I believe this overdue correction ultimately will shape up to be a great buying opportunity -- i.e., th...
Now that bitcoin has subsided from speculative bubble to functioning currency (see the price chart below), it’s safe for non-speculators to explore the whole “cryptocurrency” thing. So…is bitcoin or one of its growing list of competitors a useful addition to the average person’s array of bank accounts and credit cards — or is it a replacement for most of those things? And how does one make this transition?
With his usual excellent timing, London-based financial writer/actor/stand-up comic Dominic Frisby has just released Bitcoin: The Future of Money? in which he explains all this in terms most readers will have no tr...
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What do falling energy prices mean for the US consumer? Sober Look writes a brief yet thorough overview of the consequences of the correction in the price of crude oil. There are good aspects, particularly for the consumer, bad aspects, and out-right ugly possibilities. For more on this subject, read James Hamilton's How will Saudi Arabia respond to lower oil prices? In previous eras, Saudi Arabia would tighten the supply to help increase prices, but in this "game of chicken," the rules m...
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Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
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