SKS - Saks, Inc. – High-end retailer, Saks, Inc., popped up on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner this morning on heavier than usual trading traffic in upside calls. Shares in Saks are up 10% on Tuesday morning at a new 52-week high of $13.54 after the company posted first-quarter earnings in line with analyst expectations on higher-than-expected quarterly revenue. Shares in Saks are up more than 30% since this time last year. Bullish positions initiated in SKS options ahead of the earnings release yesterday are seeing sizable overnight gains today as shares push to the highest levels since June of 2008. Traders yesterday picked up around 500 out-of-the-money calls at the Jun $13 strike for an average premium of $0.22 per contract. Today, the $13 calls are in the money and changing hands at $0.65 each, a near three-fold increase compared to the premium paid yesterday, as of 11:50 a.m. ET. Traders appear to be buying up the $13 calls against today, with more than 1,500 lots in play versus open interest of 887 contracts. Overall options volume on Saks is nearing 9,000 contracts as of the time of this writing, which is roughly four times the stock’s average daily level of around 1,900 contracts.
HLF - Herbalife, Ltd. – Shares in Herbalife have resumed trading this afternoon, currently up 3.0% at $50.69 as of 12:20 p.m. ET, after earlier being halted with news pending. The company announced today it has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers as its independent public accountant to replace KPMG. The stock was moving higher ahead of the halt in HLF shares today, rising as much as 7.0% in the early going to $52.84. Traders looking for the stock to potentially rise to fresh 52-week highs during the next few trading sessions purchased weekly calls on the stock, buying around 1,100 lots at the May $57.5 strike for an average premium of $0.77 each. Traders long the contracts stand ready to profit at expiration this week should shares in…
HLF - Herbalife, Ltd. – Options on Herbalife continue to change hands at a clip on Thursday, one day after Pershing Square Capital Management founder, Bill Ackman, announced a short position in the stock that sent shares in the marketer of weight management products down as much as 15% during trading on Wednesday. The stock extended losses today, sliding 8% in the early going to $34.33, the lowest level since February 2011. Upwards of 71,000 put and call options have changed hands on Herbalife as of 12:55 p.m. ET, with around 1.5 puts changing hands on the stock for each single call option in play. Some traders appear to be positioning for shares in the name to hit lower lows by the end of this week, while others establish contrarian bets on the name that benefit from a pop in the price of the underlying during the next 24 hours. Bears anticipating a sharp drop in shares of Herbalife in the very near term appear to be buying out-of-the-money puts across several strike prices in the December expiry. Meanwhile, call buying at the Dec. $35, $37.5 and $40 strikes looks for the stock to rebound substantially by expiration.
ILMN - Illumina, Inc. – Shares in biotechnology company, Illumina, Inc., jumped 9.25% this morning to a new 52-week high of $57.00 on unconfirmed reports that Swiss drug maker, Roche Holding AG, may be in talks to purchase Illumina at a substantially sweetened price of $66.00 a share or $8.1 billion. San Diego, California-based Illumina’s shares have rallied more than 80% since the start of the year on speculation the provider of DNA sequencing technology may be acquired. Options volume on Illumina is up sharply on the session, with some 14,000 contracts in play on the stock as of midday in New York, versus average daily options volume of around 2,200 lots. A number of strategists appear to be buying upside calls on the takeover chatter, snapping up in- and out-of-the-money calls in the December and January expiries. The Dec. $55 and…
M - Macy’s, Inc. – The department store operator’s shares are on a tear following better-than-expected retail sales data out earlier in the week. Macy’s, Inc. shares tacked on another 2.6% today to secure a four-year high of $34.80. Trading in call options on the retailer is outpacing that of puts roughly 2.5 contracts to one, with overall volume up at 18,000 lots as of 12:45 PM in New York. Investors snapped up out-of-the-money calls in the front month, suggesting the stock may have more room to run in the near term. Call buyers looked to the Jan. $35 strike, picking up around 1,400 contracts for an average premium of $0.58 a-pop. Volume was heaviest up at the Jan. $36 strike where more than 4,200 calls traded against open interest of 1,463 contracts. Trading traffic in the calls was mixed, with buyers and sellers facing an average premium of $0.26 apiece. Finally, far out-of-the-money call options with a low probability of landing in-the-money at expiration attracted traders willing to pay an average premium of $0.09 apiece for roughly 2,000 contracts at the Jan. $38 strike. Investors long the $38 strike calls profit at expiration if shares in Macy’s jump 9.5% to top $38.09.
HLF - Herbalife, Ltd. – Shares in the provider of weight management products rallied 1.6% to $52.04 this morning, but the stock has underperformed some competitors since the start of the New Year. Weight Watchers shares are currently up 17.8% year-to-date, while Herbalife’s shares have lost 1.2% of their value in the same period. Though the stock is presently in the red for the new calendar year, activity in HLF call options suggests some traders are positioning for substantial gains in the name ahead of February expiration. Investors traded more than 2,000 calls at the…
CX - Cemex Inc. ADR – A lousy U.S. GDP report did little to arouse hopes that the consumer was overcoming the economic malaise, let alone lending a hand to the homebuilding sector. Shares in Cemex, the leading maker of cement across all of the Americas, have been struggling under the burden of a rising debt burden for two-years in hopes of a hint of strengthening revenues resulting from the U.S. market. Understandably the shares responded today by reaching a fresh 52-week low. Put activity was active on Cemex options but it appears that one investor continues to expect that the share price is approaching a floor at around $7.00. While shares reached as low as $6.58 one options writer sold another basket of 10,000 put options at the $7.00 strike indicating he’d be happy to take delivery at that price come expiration in September. The fair price of 44 cents per contract reflects the risk of doing so. Options positions built at the strike yesterday and appeared to be the work of similar selling. September calls at the same strike were also bought 2,500 times at an average price of 39 cents. Option implied volatility, which reached its highest peak in four months on Thursday started to decline as the shares recovered towards $7.00 on Friday.
HTS - Hatteras Financial Corp. – Fears very much in the foreground for the treasury market continued to weigh on REITs on Friday. Hatteras Financial was one of several companies whose share price slid over fears that disruption to the government bond market might be magnified in the repo-market for government sponsored entities, where such companies find day-to-day funding. The recent rise in the cost of borrowing in the repo-market merely reflects elevated investor concerns but according to executives within the industry, has nothing to do with day-to-day business. Efforts to soothe investors nerves fell by the wayside as shares in Hatteras broke violently from a narrow range typical of an income-generating…
Today’s tickers: HLF, REE, XLB, BIDU, DAL, RSH & MOT
HLF - Herbalife, Ltd. – It looks like one cautiously optimistic options trader initiated a delta neutral hedge on the maker of weight management, nutritional supplement and personal care products this afternoon ahead of the firm’s third-quarter earnings announcement scheduled for release after the close on November 1, 2010. Herbalife’s shares are currently down 1.25% to stand at $63.20 as of 3:45 p.m. in New York trading. The investor appears to have picked up 58,000 Herbalife shares at a price of $63.76 each as well as 2,000 calls on a 0.29 delta for a premium of $1.45 per contract. The long stance taken in HLF shares suggests the trader is bullish on the stock and expecting shares to climb higher. But, the put options serve as downside protection in case the investor’s inclinations fail to align with the performance of the stock going forward. The put options will be well worth the added premium if earnings are disappointing and shares head lower ahead of November expiration day.
REE - Rare Element Resources, Ltd. – The Canada-based company that was the target of bullish options trading just 24 hours ago has transformed into a hub of bearish activity. Shares in Rare Element Resources, which own the Bear Lodge mine in Wyoming, fell as much as 27.05% from yesterday’s high of $13.71 to an intraday low of $10.00. Despite the substantial decline today the current price of the stock is still up roughly 260% since August 20, 2010, when shares were around $2.80 each. Pessimistic players took to the options field on REE to place bearish bets on the stock. Investors expecting shares to continue lower picked up put options and sold call options in the November and December contracts. Traders picked up…
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.
Amid record unemployment, even recorder youth unemployment, and politicians willingly breaking EU treaties (with apparently no consequences), it appears - just as in the US - police brutality in France was the straw that broke 'Le Camel's back. As RT reports, another anti-police brutality protest turned violent in the French city of Rennes, with masked youths and police engaging in running street battles. The unrest follows the death of a young environmental activist earlier this week. Overnight Thursday, protesters in the northwestern city lobbed flairs at police and flipped over cars, some of which they set ablaze. Police respond...
The S&P 500 closed September with a monthly gain of 2.32%. All three S&P 500 MAs and three of the five the Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling "Invested".
The Ivy Portfolio
The table below shows the current 10-month simple moving average (SMA) signal for each of the five ETFs featured in The Ivy Portfolio. I've also included a table of 12-month SMAs for the same ETFs for this popular alternative strategy.
For a facinating analysis of the Ivy Portfolio strategy, see this article by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick and Rodrigo Gordillo:
Predictions that the US equity market would collapse at the end of QE have so far been wrong (and in a very painful way if you shorted the market based on the Fed's actions alone). The end-of-the-world-QE bears failed to factor in another surprise move by the Bank of Japan. The BOJ announced its own QE program today -- it is donating $124Bn ($80 trillion yen) to the market-propping cause. It plans to triple the amount of Japanese ETFs and REITs it buys on the open market.
Bulls showed renewed backbone last week and drew a line in the sand for the bears, buying with gusto into weakness as I suggested they would. After all, this was the buying opportunity they had been waiting for. As if on cue, the start of the World Series launched the rapid market reversal and recovery. However, there is little chance that the rally will go straight up. Volatility is back, and I would look for prices to consolidate at this level before making an attempt to go higher. I still question whether the S&P 500 will ultimately achieve a new high before year end.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then o...
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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...
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...
Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
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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