by Option Review - December 2nd, 2011 1:49 pm
Today’s tickers: JPM, GS, VLO & HRB
JPM - JPMorgan Chase & Co. – Financial names are on a tear today, and some options strategists are positioning for the good times to continue in the near term. Weekly call options on some of the large-cap financials are flying off the shelves this afternoon, as traders look to take advantage of the rally while it lasts. Shares in JPMorgan are soaring 8.2% to stand at $32.96, making the stock the best performer of the 15-largest holdings in the XLF, as of 12:30 PM in New York. Investors prepared to benefit from continued gains in the price of the underlying purchased in- and out-of-the-money call options with one week remaining to expiration. Bulls picked up roughly 1,800 in-the-money calls at the Dec. ’09 $32 strike for an average premium of $1.06 each, and bought another 3,000 calls at the higher $33 strike at an average premium of $0.39 apiece. Call buyers may profit at expiration next week in the event that shares in JPMorgan Chase & Co. exceed the average breakeven prices of $33.06 and $33.39, respectively.
GS - Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. – Similar to that observed on JPM, near-term bullish activity in Goldman’s weekly calls indicates traders are willing to shell out premium today to speculate on continued recovery in the price of the financial institution’s shares over the next five trading sessions. Goldman’s shares are up 5.6% at $99.75 in early-afternoon trade. Options players exchanged more than 5,900 calls at the Dec. ’09 $105 strike against open interest of 187 contracts, and appear to have purchased the majority of the contracts for an average premium of $1.05 a-pop. Investors long the call options may profit at expiration next week in the event that shares in Goldman Sachs surge 6.3% to surpass the average breakeven point on the upside at $106.05. Finally, bullish sentiment spread to the higher $110 weekly call where traders paid an average premium of $0.30 to buy some 630 contracts.
VLO - Valero Corp. – Financial stocks are not the only bright spots in the market today, as evidenced by the 5.0% rally in shares of oil refiner Valero Corp. to $23.22. Options traders hoping the stock will record many more green sessions during the next couple of months picked up January 2012 contract call options this morning. It appears traders purchased around 2,500 calls at the Jan. 2012 $24 strike for…
by Option Review - June 15th, 2011 4:52 pm
Today’s tickers: OI, CAKE, XLK & HRB
OI - Owens-Illinois, Inc. – The world’s largest maker of glass bottles reduced its second-quarter profit margin forecast citing higher costs and weaker demand in Australia. The market’s reaction to the Ohio-based company’s revised estimates was swift, with shares in Owens-Illinois sliding ahead of the opening bell this morning. Shares are currently down 10.3% at $26.50 just after 11:30am on the East Coast. Despite the sharp pullback in OI’s shares today it seems the glass is still half-full for one optimistic player taking a medium-term bullish stance on the stock. The contrarian trader picked up 2,000 calls at the August $29 strike at a premium of $0.85 per contract. OI’s calls are available at a steep discount today with the August $29 strike calls trading at $0.85 today down from $1.75 apiece on Tuesday. The call buyer makes money if shares in Owens-Illinois surge 12.6% over the current price of $26.50 to surpass the effective breakeven point at $29.85 at expiration. Options implied volatility on the stock shot up 23.7% to arrive at 33.23% by 11:45am.
CAKE - The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. – Shares in the operator of casual full-service restaurants may be headed lower over the next four months according to investors initiating bearish options trades on the stock today. Cheesecake Factory’s shares are currently down 0.80% to stand at $30.54 as of 11:05am in New York. Traders employed debit put spreads in the October contract, buying 1,500 puts at the October $30 strike for an average premium of $2.20 each, and selling the same number of puts at the lower October $25 strike at an average premium of $0.62 a-pop. Bears hungry for a CAKE pullback paid an average net premium of $1.58 for the spread. Investors are poised to profit should…
by phil - May 11th, 2011 7:58 am
That didn’t take long did it?
We’re right back to our 5% lines, which I predicted yesterday would be tested (and failed) so today we find out if I am half right or all right – hopefully it’s all right because we pushed our short plays to the lines and added a short on oil with USO May $41 puts, which we added yesterday afternoon for .95 at 2:30 and finished the day up a nickel. We are expecting the oil inventories to show some demand destruction at 10:30 – analysts are predicting a net 1Mb build, with a 1.6Mb increase in oil and a 300,000 barrel decrease in gasoline and distillates. A build in either gasoline or distillates will indicate pricing is hurting demand, despite whatever oil number comes up so that’s what we’ll be watching.
Yesterday, in the morning post (never miss one with a $1.90 per day Annual Report Membership!), I mentioned the TBT weekly $33 calls at $1.55 would make a good long and those finished the day at $1.87 (up 20%) but they looked good enough to keep into the close and we expect trouble in today’s 10-year auction so we’re being greedy and going for $2.15+, which will make a nice 40% gain in 2 days.
To make sure you don’t miss our next trade idea – today I will give you a trade idea that can knock 20% to 69% off the $695 Annual PSW Report Membership: You can buy 10 QQQ May $60 puts for $1 and sell 10 QQQ May $59 puts for .48 for net .52 ($520) on the $1 ($1,000) spread (it’s the net that matters, not the price of each leg). The maximum gain on this trade is $480 if the Qs finish below $59 next Friday and, if you stop your loss at net $400 (.40 per contract) that limits you to $120 lost and, if this trade loses money, let me know and I’ll give you 50% off an annual PSW Report Membership, which will save you $347.50 so net $127.50 (20%) saved on a Membership – even if the trade doesn’t work. If it does work – you are honor-bound to subscribe, of course!
What we are expecting, between now and Friday, is for the chart above to form a pattern that will look like the "M" in the McDonald’s arches,
by Option Review - May 9th, 2011 4:02 pm
Today’s tickers: RIMM, MBI, HRB & MET
RIMM - Research in Motion, Ltd. – Investors taking a long-term bearish stance on the Blackberry maker initiated put butterfly spreads on the stock today, which yield maximum benefits in the event that the stock is trading well beneath its current 52-week low by expiration in January 2012. Shares in the Ontario, Canada-based company fell as much as 2.8% during the session to touch down at an intraday low of $44.71. A number of analysts lowered their share price targets on RIMM in recent days as rival Apple continues to encroach on the company’s share of the smartphone market. Butterfly spreads on the stock suggest some options players expect RIMM’s losing streak to continue into next year. Investors purchased around 3,500 puts at the January 2012 $40 strike for an average premium of $3.77 each, sold 7,000 puts at the January 2012 $37.5 strike at an average premium of $2.83, and picked up 3,500 puts at the January 2012 $35 strike for an average premium of $2.10 apiece. Net premium paid to initiate the put ‘fly amounts to just $0.21 per contract. The parameters of the strategy imply an average breakeven share price of $39.79. Maximum potential profits of $2.29 per contract are available on the spread should shares in RIMM plunge 16.1% from the current price of $44.71 to settle at $37.50 at expiration in January. The strategy employed substantially reduced the overall cost of taking a long-term bearish view on the Blackberry provider. Investors long the butterfly spread paid an average of just $0.21 per contract, but could make up to $2.29 per contract if shares behave as they anticipate. The reward-to-risk ratio is a sweet 10.9-to-1 on this strategy. Options implied volatility on RIMM is up 7.4% as of 12:10pm in New York to stand at 46.35%.…
by phil - October 23rd, 2010 7:55 am
In uncertain markets, dividends can give you a critical investing edge.
As you can see from the chart on the left, just mindlessly investing in dividend-paying stocks can give you more than a 2:1 annual advantage in your investments.
Of course, here at PSW, we teach the art of selling options premiums – something that turns virtually any stock into a "dividend" payer. For example, MSFT is only a small, 2% dividend-payer but a fairly solid cash-machine of a stock that we don't feel is likely to go bankrupt overnight so it makes for a nice safe staple in a long-term virtual portfolio. But MSFT is also a very poorly-run company that hasn't grown in 20 years but we can make it a much more interesting stock by simply selling covered calls.
For example, in our August edition of Dividend Payers, we looked at MSFT for $24.23 and we sell the Sept $24 calls for .77. This lowered our effective basis to $23.46 and selling the call putus in no special danger – we simply agreed to sell MSFT for $24 on expiration day in September (the 17th).
The stock was called away from us, and we made a .54 profit or 2.3% of our net $23.46 cash investment in less than 30 days. That works out to a 26% annualized ROI and we had an opportunity (as we had expected) to buy the stock again and again at $24 on Oct 4th and 5th and sell the November $24 calls for .90 for a net $23.10 re-entry and ANOTHER 3.8% GAIN if we are called away at $24 or greater on Nov 19th. Doesn't that beat waiting a whole quarter for your 1% dividend checks?
Of course, you can optimize all this with timing and we favor stocks that are on sale – this is just a very simple example of how our most basic options strategy can drastically boost your annual returns on any stock in your virtual portfolio.
Let's say you don't want to mess around with MSFT every month. You could have simply sold the 2012 $22.50s for $4.40 (also suggested in the August post), that dropped your net entry from $24.23 to $19.83…
by Option Review - October 14th, 2010 5:59 pm
Today’s tickers: HRB, XRT, GRMN, HAL, F, MWW & BK
HRB - H&R Block, Inc. – Investors are bulking up on H&R Block put options this afternoon following reports the provider of tax services acquired tax-preparation firm 2SS Holdings for $287 million in cash. HRB’s shares dropped like a rock today, falling as much as 10.445% during the session to hit an intraday low of $12.26. Options traders basically ignored the existence of H&R Block calls and instead focused their efforts on buying up bearish put contracts across several expiries. More than 7.95 put options changed hands on HRB for each single call option in play on the stock as of 3:15 p.m. in New York trading. The sharp increase in demand for put options and the rapid descent in the price of the underlying shares fueled a 33.3% rise in the overall reading of options implied volatility on the stock to 70.39% late in the trading day. Pessimistic players picked up 5,600 now in-the-money puts at the October $12.5 strike for an average premium of $0.24 each. These contracts expire tomorrow, but investors may make money if HRB’s shares trade below the average breakeven price of $12.26 ahead of expiration. Put volume is most significant in the November contract. It looks like investors picked up 9,300 puts at the November $10 strike at a premium of $0.38 each, coveted another 10,300 contracts at the November $11 strike for premium of $0.57 apiece, and purchased approximately 2,500 puts at the November $12 strike for a premium of $0.81 a-pop. Volume in put options generated at each of the strikes described outweighs previously existing open interest at each one many times over. Put players may be scrambling to secure downside protection on existing positions in the underlying shares, or could be enacting outright bearish bets on the stock. HRB’s shares are down 9.50% at $12.39 with 35 minutes remaining in the trading session.…
by phil - October 13th, 2010 4:20 am
Is it time to throw fundamentals out the window?
As we went through the Sept 21st Fed minutes in yesterday’s Member chat we read some things that were AWFUL about the economy. I went through my usual exercise of parsing out the minutes and making comments for Members and it’s been a long time since I had to use red highlights that often! Still the market rallied, ostensibly on the premise that the economy is SO BAD, that the Fed will have no choice but to flood the economy with newly printed Dollars so that a rising tide of currency will lift all asset ships.
The boy from Zimbabwe on the right is a multi-Trillionaire and those Trillions should be just enough to buy him a loaf of bread if he hurries to the store before they change the prices this morning. This is what is happening to our own economy, only on a smaller scale (so far). Our government, like Zimbabwe, has gotten into so much debt that they can never hope to repay it but new bills keep coming in every day so – What is a government to do?
Why print more money of course!
Now, when a bill comes in, they just crank up the presses and drop the fresh bills in an envelope. Unfortunately, after a while, the people who provide goods and services you and your government pay for begin to catch on that those bills are suddenly very easy to come by and they begin to demand more and more of them as exchange. It’s a little hard to picture unless you run it into the abstract but think of it like an auction, where 5 people have $5 each to bid on 5 items. Well those items (commodities) will get somewhere between $0 and $5 from the bidders, right? Now, what happens if one of the bidders prints himself up $45 additional dollars? Now he can bid $10 on each item and the other bidders will get nothing.
That’s what the top 1% are doing with commodities and other assets right now. The assets are the same assets they were last year and the year before that. There has been very little variation between supply and demand and demand has probably gone down a bit during the recession but that doesn’t matter as 1% of the people have MUCH…
by phil - September 25th, 2010 8:29 am
It's only been three weeks but it's time for an update!
Back on the 3rd, I had said: "Let’s take a look at a quick dozen trade ideas for short-term gains. I like all these stocks long-term too (it’s always better to play short-term where your fallback is you own the stock long-term) but we haven’t been doing much gambling lately as it’s all been boring-old hedged positions that were smart, but not really giving us that immediate satisfaction you can get from some quick, monthly gains."
And what a month it's been, a dozen stocks, about 30 different trade ideas and we're already up to our 50% and 100% goals on most of the shorter-term ones. The longer-term positions are mostly looking good and we have hedged to cover them but let's go over each postiion to make sure it's worth keeping. I already called an out on HMY as they poked through $11.50 the other day but that was a directional trade (the October $10s) that was already up 133% and one thing we're not is greedy, right?
HMY was the only trade that was a pure short-term, directional trade. Virtually every othe stock had longer components and that's where our decision-making process comes in. I went over the logic of each entry in the original post and I won't rehash it here as we'll just look over the possible trade adjustments and decide what looks good to keep and what to cash. For purposes of this discussion, we'll use this multi-chart which indicates the 20 (blue) and 50 (red) dma:
So, how worried are we? We picked these stocks based on fundamentals. As you can see, they certainly didn't have any upward momentum on Sept 3rd! It should be no surprise that they outperformed as the market rose 10% for the month but the question we have to ask now is: How comfortable do we feel about holding them through a downturn? One of the reasons we us disaster hedges and short-term hedges is that, rather than just feel compelled to cash out as we hit resistance on our positions, we now have a cushion that we can sit back and CALMLY observe how our stocks handle a market pullback.
by phil - September 21st, 2010 8:27 am
Isn’t this exciting?
We popped all of our 5% levels yesterday, now all we have to do is hold them and we can start looking ahead to the 10% lines. Just 10 days ago, on Friday the 10th, we did our last multi-chart study and I said in the morning post: "I am not TA guy but If I were a bear, I’d be pretty darned concerned about the charts as it looks to me like the 20-day moving averages are registering a short-term mistake in a generally rising trend." Look at how those 20 dma’s have snapped up in less than 2 weeks (blue lines are mid-points, green circles are 5% levels):
So Gold and Transports are running away with SOX falling behind. We’ve been playing the SOX up with USD, which is up 10% since I picked it in that Friday’s post but that’s been a relative underperformer for us as we nailed the bottom with a buying frenzy into the late August drop which culminated with my very bullish "September’s Dozen" from the 3rd. There were actually 10 stocks and only 9 fit in the multi-chart (I dropped HMY, who already gained 15%) with way more than a dozen trade ideas for our Members to take advantage of the anticipated short-term moves. Of the 10, only IRM has been laying around but we weren’t expecting a quick move on them and played a conservative April spread and took the risk on Oct $22.50 calls, which are our only loser, down 30% at .20 but I still like them if we break up from here.
The leverage you can gain with option plays is truly stunning. On BRCM, for example, the trade idea was a straight purchase of the Sept $32 calls for $1.25, BRCM topped out at $35.49 with the calls close to $3 on the 14th and they expired on Friday at $2.16, which is up 72%, even for people who didn’t stop out between there and up 140% that Tuesday. That trade was a combo trade with the sale of the October $30 puts at .70 and those are down to .30 (up 57%) which are well on their way to expiring worthless for a full 100% gain. We also took an artificial buy/write that stretched from Jan to Jan 2012 so that was 3 trade ideas on one stock – you can see how quickly we get past a dozen!
by phil - September 9th, 2010 8:13 am
Not only are our students failing to keep up with the rest of the World but America is close to getting a failing grade in Infrastructure. That’s right, what was once the World’s mightiest and proudest economy, this once great nation of builders has been given an overall grade of D in the American Society of Civil Engineers report on our Infrastructure.
The 2009 Grades include: Aviation (D), Bridges (C), Dams (D), Drinking Water (D-), Energy (D+), Hazardous Waste (D), Inland Waterways (D-), Levees (D-), Public Parks and Recreation (C-), Rail (C-), Roads (D-), Schools (D), Solid Waste (C+), Transit (D), and Wastewater (D-). Awful? Shameful? How about DANGEROUS? Deadly even…
For one thing, The number of high hazard dams—dams that, should they fail, pose a significant risk to human life—has increased by more than 3,000 just since 2007, when there were "just" 1,000 dams at risk and 3,000 to pro actively maintain but the administration refused to fund the project, now the costs have tripled as the situation deteriorates but that’s nothing compared to what happens if just a few of them break completely. 1,819 dams are now in the "high hazard" category and, with the current budget, for every one damn that is reparied, two more become an emergency.
In urban areas, roadway congestion tops 40 percent. According to the report, decades of underfunding and inattention have jeopardized the ability of our nation’s infrastructure to support our economy and facilitate our way of life. At risk of catastrophic failure besides the dams (including levees) are things like our drinking water, sewage systems, bridges, waterways, rail lines, airports, roadways (especially elevated ones) and, of course, our entire electrical grid. Additionally, 7 Billion gallons of clean drinking water is lost every day through leaking pipes – that’s 23 gallons per citizen per day WASTED for want of $11Bn in repairs – don’t bother worrying about it, the last Administration wouldn’t fund it in 2001 or 2006 so why bother now – 10 Trillion gallons later?
The ASCE calculates a 5-year $2.2Tn investment is needed to address the situation, that’s $500Bn (25%) more than it was 5-years ago, when they released their last report and nothing was done by the previous administration. So, rather than having invested in America, putting people to work and improving EVERYONE’s way of life, we spent over $1Tn fighting a war, another $600Bn a year on our regular military operations and gave over $1Tn worth of taxe breaks…