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 tragic story emanating from the UK just doesn’t seem to go away. Probably because it’s true. The food crisis across the pond first came to my attention in earnest back in October when the Red Cross announced it was set to provide food aid to the UK for the first time since World War II.
The latest twist to this unacceptable saga comes via a letter send by a ...
What's New: I've updated the charts below through Today's close. The yield on the 10-year note rose to 2.88%, which is 136 bps above its 1.45% all-time closing low on July 25th of last year and only 10 bps below its interim closing high on September 5th.
The latest Freddie Mac Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, released today, puts the 30-year fixed at 4.46%, 115 bps above its all-time low of 3.31% in late November of last year and only 12 bps below its interim high reported on August 22nd.
The 30-year Treasury closed today at 3.92% and the 20-year at 3.65%. Both are new interim highs since their 2012 troughs.
Here is a snapshot of the 10-year yield and the 30-year fixed mortgage since 2008.
A log-scale snapshot of the 10-year yield offers a more accurate view of the relative change over time. Here is ...
CELG – Celgene Corp – Shares in Celgene rallied 3.6% on Thursday to an all-time high of $165.88 after the fourth-largest biotechnology company was raised to ‘Buy’ from ‘Neutral’ with an increased target share price of $200.00 at UBS. Options changing hands on the stock this morning suggests some traders are positioning for the price of the underlying to continue higher next week.
The most traded contracts on CELG by volume are the 13 Dec ’13 $165 strike calls, with around 2,500 calls in play against open interest of 675 contrac...
I love covering trials, which is one reason I've been a little sad since switching over to the Wall Street beat: Few of the bad guys in this world ever even get interviewed by the authorities, much less indicted, so trials are comically rare.
But we did have one last year, a big one, and though it was boring and jargon-laden enough on the surface that at least one juror fought sleep in its opening days, I thought it was fascinating. In a story about the Justice Department's Spring 2012 prosecution of a wide-raging municipal bond bid-rigging case, I called it the "first trial of the modern American mafia":
As the charts last week indicated might happen, the S&P 500 has fallen four straight days and failed to hold its breakout above 1800 while the Dow Jones Industrials lost 16,000. Only the NASDAQ is still holding on to its breakout above 4000. Although the Basic Materials sector was the leader on Wednesday, the Technology sector was strong, as well, and in fact Tech stocks have been the strongest over the past week and the past month.
As markets finally show a willingness to pullback somewhat from their torrid pace, the bears are trotting out every naysayer they can lay their hands on to scare investors away, including smart folks like Carl Icahn, who is “very cautious,” and Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller and his stock market “bubble” assertions. Sure, valuations are high on a historic...
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) will increase shipping rates for FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery by an average of 4.9% effective January 6, 2014. FedEx SmartPost rates also will change.
Details of surcharge changes and new rates for FedEx Ground will be available at fedex.com/us/2014rates on December 6, 2013.
FedEx previously announced on Sept. 18, 2013 that it will increase shipping rates for FedEx Express by an average of 3.9% for U.S. domestic, U.S. export and U.S. import services also effective January 6, 2014.
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This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).
We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options.
Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.
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These rallies are becoming familiar. In early July we saw a streak of 12 of 13 sessions in a row up, early September 11 of 12, and mid October 11 of 13 (current streak). It is a bit uncanny the similarities and how the escalator goes straight up in vertical ascent as we see indexes come out of mini corrections during QE. So we are about at the same stage where the last two began to tire, so it will be interesting if this is similar or if the current consensus of the market that there is nothing to worry about until next year as the Fed and D.C. are both off the table and this 3% annual growth rate in earnings we are now seeing in the S...
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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Come and get it! Read all about it! Biotechs, biotechs and more biotechs to buy buy buy for your portfolio! To date, almost 30 biotech companies have hit the market. Most of the time, there are fewer than 10-12!
For the last five years, biotechs have had issues obtaining offer prices above expectations. In 2013, that trend looks to be broken. According to BiotechNow, the offer prices are 4% above expectations! In addition, biotechs are going public with little more than a wing and a prayer (pre-clinical or Phase 1 data only). Really? What this means is that the drug or technology looks good in mice, rats, or dogs, etc, but there is no smidgen of evidence that it will work in humans. That's what is called an appitite for RISK!
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