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…
Once upon a time, before banks and before even private lending, there was only one way to prepare for retirement. People had to hoard something durable. Every week, they would set aside part of their wages to buy salt (later, it was silver). Assuming it didn’t get wet, the salt accumulated until they couldn’t work any longer. Then, they would begin selling it off to buy groceries.
This was the best they could do. By modern standards, it wasn’t a very good method. Stockpiling a commodity does not finance business growth, so the hoarder contributed no capital to the economy. And, it carries a very big risk: what if you run out before you die?
The Fed's Beige Book is a summary and analysis of economic activity and conditions, issued roughly two weeks prior to monetary policy meetings of the Fed.
"Book" is an adequate expression. This month, the Beige Book is 50 pages long. It's prepared with the aid of reports from the district Federal Reserve Banks.
Don't bother reading the book. It's not worth the slog.
Beige Book Highlights
Bloomberg offers these Beige Book Highlights. The Beige Book, prepared for the September 17 FOMC meeting, is not underscoring any urgency for a rate hike. Eleven of 12 districts report only moderate to modest growth with the Cleve...
The S&P 500 is now down around 7% on the year. Is the very long-term bull market still in play? Yes it is!!!
The chart below looks at the NYSE Composite on a monthly basis, dating back to 1965.
CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE
As you can see, since the mid 60’s, the NYSE composite has remained inside of rising channel (A). The last time the top of the channel was touched was in the late 1990’s and the last time the bottom of the channel was touched took place back in 2009.
Despite the quick down turn of late, this long-term rising channel remains in ta...
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The dark veil around China is creating a little too much uncertainty for investors, with the usual fear mongers piling on and sending the vast buy-the-dip crowd running for the sidelines until the smoke clears. Furthermore, Sabrient’s fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings have been flashing near-term defensive signals. The end result is a long overdue capitulation event that has left no market segment unscathed in its mass carnage. The historically long technical consolidation finally came to the point of having to break one way or the other, and it decided to break hard to the downside, actually testing the lows from last ...
With the VIX index jumping 120 percent on a weekly basis, the most in its history, and with the index measuring volatility or "fear" up near 47 percent on the day, one might think professional investors might be concerned. While the sell off did surprise some, certain hedge fund managers have started to dip their toes in the water to buy stocks they have on their accumulation list, while other algorithmic strategies are actually prospering in this volatile but generally consistently trending market.
Stock market sell off surprises some while others were prepared and are hedged prospering
Naysyers are warning that the recent plunge in Bitcoin prices - from almost $318 at its peak during the Greek crisis, to $221 yesterday - is due to growing power struggle over the future of the cryptocurrency that is dividing its lead developers. On Saturday, a rival version of the current software was released by two bitcoin big guns. As Reuters reports, Bitcoin XT would increase the block size to 8 megabytes enabling more transactions to be processed every second. Those who oppose Bitcoin XT say the bigger block size jeopardizes the vision of a decentralized payments system that bitcoin is built on with some believing ...
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Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
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.
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