Heavy volume in Intel options as shares rally to highest since August
Today’s tickers: INTC, LRCX & IRM
INTC - Intel Corp. – Shares in Intel Corp. are bucking the trend on Monday, up better than 4.0% at $25.27 as of midday in New York amid a weak start to the trading week for U.S. equities. The chipmaker was raised to ‘Outperform’ from ‘Market Perform’ with a target share price of $28.00 from $23.00 at FBR Capital today. Bullish trades initiated on Intel on Friday are generating gains for some strategists today, with premium on weekly calls up sharply with the move in the price of the underlying stock. It looks like more than 7,000 of the Jun 07 ’13 $25 strike calls were purchased on Friday for an average premium of $0.11 each. Today, these contracts are changing hands for $0.41 each, a near four-fold increase over the weekend. Traders positioning for the stock to extend gains this week snapped up around 1,000 calls at the Jun 07 ’13 $26 strike for an average premium of $0.06 apiece. The bullish bet makes money at expiration as long as shares in INTC rally another 3.1% to exceed the average breakeven price of $26.06. Shares in Intel are up roughly 20% since the start of 2013.
LRCX - Lam Research Corp. – Bullish options are changing hands on Lam Research Corp. today, with shares in the name trading up as much as 5.0% to a new two-year high of $49.13 after analysts at Needham reiterated a ‘Buy’ rating on the stock and raised their price target to $60.00 from $53.00. Traders placing bullish bets on LRCX looked to the front month calls, buying roughly 1,000 of
INTC - Intel Corp. – Shares in Intel kicked off the trading session in negative territory on Wednesday morning, declining as much as 1.1% versus a 0.65% decline in the S&P 500 Index in the early going. U.S. stocks have since halved earlier losses and Intel’s shares are moving higher, up 0.65% on the session at $21.90 as of 10:50 a.m. ET. Heavy trading traffic in June expiry calls near the start of the trading day suggests one strategist is positioning for shares in Intel Corp. to rally during the next few months. Upwards of 27,000 calls have changed hands at the Jun. $23 strike versus open interest of 10,898 contracts. It looks like most of the volume was purchased at an average premium of $0.26 apiece, including the single-largest print of 15,988 calls traded. The bullish bet on INTC is working this morning, with premium required to purchase the Jun. $23 strike calls up more than 30% over the $0.26 in premium paid this morning to stand at $0.35 each as of 11:00 a.m. in New York. Profits are available on the strategy at June expiration in the event that Intel’s shares rise 6.0% over the current price of $21.90 to surpass the average breakeven point at $23.26. Intel’s first-quarter earnings report is less than three weeks away, scheduled for release after the closing bell on April 16th.
AOL - AOL, Inc. – Options are changing hands at a clip on the online content, products and services provider this morning, with shares in AOL rising sharply following an upgrade to ‘Overweight’ from ‘Equal Weight’ with a target price increase to $44.00 from $38.00 at Barclays. Shares in AOL rallied as much as 9.5% during the first half of the session to $39.62. Traders anticipating additional near-term gains in the price of the underlying shares purchased front month call options on the stock this morning. It looks like buyers stepped in to buy contracts across the April $37, $38, $39, $40 and…
INTC - Intel Corp. – Trading traffic in weekly call and put options on Intel Corp. this morning is mixed, with some positions looking for shares to move higher during the next five sessions, while others brace for the stock to head lower from here. Shares in the chip giant are down 1.25% on Friday to stand at $21.38 as of midday in New York. The most actively traded Mar. 22 ’13 expiry options as measured by volume are the $21 strike puts, as of the time of this writing, with volume in excess of 8,600 lots versus open interest of 20 contracts. It looks like most of the $21 weekly puts were purchased at an average premium of $0.10 apiece, thus positioning buyers to profit in the event that INTC shares decline 2.2% from the current price of $21.38 to breach the effective breakeven point on the downside at $20.90 by expiration. Meanwhile, traders itching for a rally in Intel’s shares next week snapped up call options across several striking prices. The Mar. 22 ’13 $21.5 strike calls are seeing the most volume, with 1,400 lots traded against open interest of 578 contracts. The bulk of the $21.5 strike calls appear to have been purchased at an average premium of $0.18 each. Traders long the calls stand ready to profit at expiration should shares in INTC increase 1.4% to top the average breakeven price of $21.68.
PGNX - Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. – Shares in biotechnology company, Progenics Pharmaceuticals, are soaring on Friday, trading up more than 45% to touch a seven-month high of $4.94 in the early going after the company reported a narrower-than-expected fourth-quarter loss ahead of the opening bell. PGNX popped up on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner due to heavy trading in the May expiry puts. The most active contracts are the May $4.0 strike puts, with more than 5,100 lots in play versus open interest of 8 contracts. Volume in the $4.0 strike puts alone…
SPY - SPDR S&P 500 ETF – A large trade in SPY call options, one that comprised more than 15% of the 630,000 options contracts that had changed hands on the ETF by 11:05 a.m. ET on Thursday morning, appear to be a massive bullish play that looks for the S&P 500 Index to rise to fresh five-year highs next week. Shares in the SPY, an ETF that tracks the performance of the S&P 500 Index, are moving higher for a third consecutive session, up 0.45% at $147.71, helped by a decline in initial jobless claims, strong housing starts and better-than-expected corporate earnings reports. The outright purchase of 100,000 calls at the Jan. 25 ’13 $150 strike at a premium of $0.165 per contract benefits from continued gains in the price of the underlying fund during the next six trading sessions. The position may be profitable at expiration next week should SPY shares tack on another 1.7% to top the effective breakeven price of $150.165, the highest level since 2007.
INTC - Intel Corp. – Options volume on chip maker, Intel Corp., is on pace to surpass its daily average of approximately 155,300 contracts this morning, with overall options volume on the stock topping 150,000 contracts as of 10:55 a.m. ET. Upside calls on Intel are active, with shares in the name up 1.2% on the session at $22.37, ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report set for release after the closing bell today. Call options set to expire at the end of the trading week are seeing the most action this morning, specifically the Jan. $23.5 strike contracts. Upwards of 48,000 calls have changed hands at the $23.5 striking price, versus previously existing open interest of 11,801 contracts. It looks like most of the contracts were purchased in the early going for an average premium of $0.12 apiece. Bullish calls may be profitable at expiration should Intel’s shares surge 5.6% post-earnings to exceed the average breakeven price of $23.62. Like-minded strategists snapped up 3,000 weekly calls out at the…
INTC - Intel Corp. – Shares in the chip maker are in negative territory this morning, trading lower with the broader market on signs budget talks are stalling and lawmakers may not reach a deal by year end. Intel’s shares are down better than 2% to stand at $20.59 as of midday in New York. Fresh interest in weekly call and put options on the name this morning suggests traders are preparing for volatility in the price of the underlying through the end of 2012. Options players bracing for Intel’s shares to potentially fall sharply during the next four trading session snapped up around 1,000 puts at the Dec. 28 ’12 $20 strike and another 550 puts at the Dec. 28 ’12 $19.5 strike at premiums of $0.07 and $0.04 apiece, respectively. Traders long the $20 and $19.5 strike contracts may profit in the event that Intel’s shares drop roughly 3.2% and 5.5% to settle below the effective breakeven prices of $19.93 and $19.46 by expiration next week. Meanwhile, strategists holding out hope that a deal gets done and lifts equities in the near term appear to be purchasing upside calls today. The Dec. 28 ’12 $21 strike calls saw the most volume, with upwards of 5,000 contracts in play during the first half of the session. Time and sales data suggests the bulk of the volume was purchased for an average premium of $0.15 apiece. Buyers of the $21 strike calls profit at expiration as long as Intel’s shares rally 2.7% to settle above $21.15.
HALO - Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. – Upside calls on biopharmaceutical company, Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc., are active today, with shares in the name rallying as much as 30% to $7.19 on Friday morning. The stock popped after Halozyme announced it will work with Pfizer to create up to six new injectable drugs. Options traders positioning for HALO’s shares to extend gains during the next four weeks purchased around 250 calls at the Jan. 2013 $7.5 strike for an average premium of $0.37 per contract. Call…
As you can see from David Fry's SPY chart, we went up and finished down but the volume was a bit lower to the upside than the sell-off into the close. MSFT and INTC led us to the downside – no surprise really as we discussed both this weekend as Dow components to avoid in the current cycle.
There was no significant economic data, just the usual nonsense about Greece and, of course, the drumbeat of fear regarding the US fiscal cliff that the MSM is banging 24/7. "What's up with that fiscal cliff" is now how 90% of my conversations begin with anyone who knows what I do for a living.
I now find that it's easier to say "Oh, we're all totally doomed" than to explain why we're not because when, for example, I say this to one of my Mother's friends – they nod wisely and agree with me while, if I try to explain why they shouldn't worry so much – they get all confused and then say to my Mom – "I thought he was supposed to understand the stock market."
I guess I should have tried this with my children. Rather than sitting up for 15 minutes or so explaining why there are not monsters under their bed – I could have just agreed with them and said "Yep, big hungry ones!" Maybe they'd never sleep again but at least I'd sound knowledgeable about monsters and the imminent dangers they posed to sleeping children.
Stocks are now at 3-month lows and it's been a month since we strung together 2 up days in a row (Oct 15-17) with the S&P falling from 1,470 on Oct 5th to yesterday's low of 1,371 fir a 99-point drop in 25 trading sessions (6.8%) – losing an average of 4 S&P points a day with 1,360 being our Must Hold line on the Big Chart. The S&P and the NYSE are both, so far, holding their lines (NYSE is 8,000) and they are our broadest indexes but we're pretty close to having to layer our disaster hedges as we cross those -7.5% lines.
There's no denying it now, they had their IPad Mini event yesterday and investors charged out of the stock, dropping it from a high of $633 (which is already 10% off the Sept highs) to close at $613 and that was finally weak enough to get us to capitulate and roll back our AAPL positions to longer-term trades that have less upside but, more importantly, less downside as we are no longer confident they'll be able to turn it around on Friday.
Notice how silly it seems to talk about how poorly AAPL is performing when the chart on the right pretty clearly indicates it's the greatest stock on Earth but that would be the logical conclusion for a company that's on track to earnings $43Bn this year, which is $81,811 a minute – more even than what they were tracking to make last month, when I set out bottom target at $600 (and that spread is an even better buy now) AND, only 68% of what they are projected to make next year!
We didn't really think it would hit $600 – that was our worst-case but here we are – at the worst case and, since we are no longer able to say with conviction that it can't get any worse, we had to back our short-term plays to something that buys us more time. In that same post we liked HPQ at $14.30 and at least they are holding that line and we also had a nice spread on that stock in the same post, which is still holding up as a new spread.
In that post I mentioned (as usual) our primary hedge being TZA and the straight-up April $15 calls mentioned there have gone up another .40, from $2.50 to $2.90 off our $2.10 entry (up 38%) – not bad against just a 15-point drop in the Russell (down 2%).
Yesterday, with our hedges already in place (see last Wednesday's TZA hedge and this Monday's DIA hedge) we had the luxury of doing some bottom-fishing yesterday with long trade ideas on TIVO at $9.78, USO at $31.75, AAPL at $623, CMG at $238 and our last trade idea for the day was SQQQ at $41.20 (that one, of course, is another hedge – always look for BALANCE!) – just…
Let's not make this more complicated than it needs to be.
A weak Dollar lifts the markets and, this morning, the Dollar fell from 79.50 at yesterday's close to 79 at 6:45 and that's why, despite earnings disappointments from both INTC and IBM, the Futures are up slightly 3 hours before the open. As you can see from the chart on the right, to say there's a strong inverse correlation between the Dollar and the S&P is quite the understatement. Over the longer run – the effect tends to wash out but, over the short run, it's an almost perfect match.
Of course, this also has a very direct effect on commodity pricing and part of the reason for the Dollar's big sell-off last night was the much-better-than-last-time performance of Barack Obama in the second Presidential Debate as the future of the Fed and all that free money hangs in the balance.
After the first debate, two weeks ago, Romney clearly won and has made it known that he will kick both Big Bird and Big Ben to the curb as soon as he gets in office – that sent the Dollar up from 79.10 to 80.21 (up 1.4%) last week and dropped the S&P from 1,460 to 1,430 (2%). After last night, Romney looks to be back off the table and that leaves the Dollar to resume it's downward slope – giving another lift to the markets.
At the same time, Moody's left Spain's credit rating above junk this morning and that's lifting the Euro to $1.31 and the Pound is moving in lock-step at $1.61 BUT the Yen dropped 0.5% to 78.63 and it's not likely the BOJ will let the Dollar slip below 79 as that makes Toyotas and Sonys more expensive just ahead of the holidays. Also, the Nikkei finally got back to 8,850 last night and you know they hate to lose that line.
So get set for some heavy-duty Global Market Manipulation by our Central Banksters as everyone but Europe tries to race for the bottom. Europe, interestingly enough, doesn't mind a strong currency as they are fuel and goods importers and most of the goods they export are "luxury" class and less susceptible to currency fluctuations. With strong intra-zone trading the backbone of the EU economy, it doesn't matter where the Euro is trading from that perspective either and, of…
Every minute of every day, AAPL is making $76,103 (at $40Bn a year) on the sale of $316,120 worth of products. No company on Earth comes close to that kind of metric and, overall, the stock's performance clearly indicates that but, if you listen to the MSM, you would think AAPL is finished.
We had a nice, in-depth discussion about AAPL in Member Chat this morning and we not only concluded it's still a buy but we came up with a lovely spread that has the potential to turn $3,000 into $45,000 between now and Jan 2015 if AAPL simply holds $600 – needless to say we're very proud of that as it's always nice to have a trade or two in your portfolio that returns 1,500% and we rarely get a chance to do them with a blue-chip stock like AAPL.
Note in the above chart, that AAPL is still a relative outperformer this year – shown priced against HPQ, DELL, INTC, IBM, CAT and ISRG – all good companies that have simply failed to keep up. We also like HPQ at this level, now $14.30 as their REDUCED guidance has them earning $3.62 per share next year after earning $4.05 this year and that's still 25% back on your money, which sure beats TBills and we're not even counting the $18Bn in cash they have on hand, which is quite a lot when you consider that their entire market cap is now just $28Bn. Small wonder HPQ spent $9Bn buying back their own stock last year, when it was priced 100% higher.
HPQ is a pretty good candidate for a buy/write, where we Buy the stock for $14.30 and Write 2014 $15 puts and calls (sell short) for $5.50 and that nets $8.80 on the trade and, if HPQ is below $15 in Jan 2014, then another round of shares will be put to you at $15 for an average entry on 2x of $11.90, which is 17% below the current price and, if HPQ is over $15 in 16 months, then you get called away at $15 for a $6.20 profit on cash (75%). Buy/writes are our favorite tools for making long-term entries – see "How to Buy a Stock for a 15-20% Discount."
As we mentioned INTC in the above chart, let's look at a similar…
MCD - McDonald's Corp. – Traders hungry for bullish options on McDonald’s Corp. purchased upside calls on the stock this morning, with shares in the world’s largest restaurant chain rising as much as 0.90% to $92.10 at the start of the session on better-than-expected August same-store sales growth in its Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East region. Options players positioning for shares in MCD to extend gains during the next five weeks snapped up Oct. $92.5 and $95 calls. The Oct. $95 strike call is the most heavily traded at present, with around 3,700 contracts in play as of 12:15 p.m. in New York. It looks like most of the $95 calls were purchased for an average premium of $0.51 apiece, thus preparing buyers to profit at expiration next month should the price of the underlying rally another 3.7% to exceed the average breakeven price of $95.51. Bullish activity spread to longer-dated contracts expiring in December, where around 2,600 of the Dec. $95 strike calls were purchased for an average premium of $1.21 each. These contracts may be profitable at expiration if the Big Mac maker’s shares rally 4.5% to top $96.21, the highest since May. McDonald's is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell on October 19th, the last session available to trade the October options before they expire.
INTC - Intel Corp. – Shares in the chip maker are on the mend today, up 1.3% at $23.57 as of 12:25 p.m. ET, reversing some of the declines suffered during the prior two trading sessions. A large bullish risk reversal initiated on INTC this morning suggests one big options market participant is positioning for further gains in the price of the underlying this year. It looks like the strategist sold around 25,000 puts at the Dec. $21 strike at a premium of $0.45 each in order to partially offset the…
“The cash shortage may get even worse before the quarter-end because banks will have to hoard cash to meet loan-to-deposit ratio requirements,” said Chen Qi, a strategist at UBS Securities Co. in Shanghai. “The central bank probably won’t come out to intervene unless there is a sharp decline in economic growth and large capital outflows.”
Royalty Pharma announced today that Elan voluntarily (NYSE: ELN) withdrew the lawsuit it had filed on an expedited basis only one week ago in New York federal court. That suit claimed that Royal Pharma's tender offer disclosures were inadequate. As explained in Royalty Pharma's response to Elan's complaint, served on Elan just yesterday, Elan's claims were entirely without merit, and in any event were rendered irrelevant by the amended disclosures Royalty Pharma filed Friday, June 7. Faced with the prospect of an embarrassing loss, Elan has chosen to walk away. The voluntary withdrawal confirms that Royalty Pharma's disclosures have been full and accurate, and that investors have all the information they require to consider Royalty Pharma's highly compelling tender offer.
In response to the revelation that the NSA has been illegally spying on all Americans for more than a decade, NSA chief General Keith Alexander claimed that the spying prevented a terrorist attack on Wall Street and the New York subway.
There’s only one problem: the claim is completely false.
LZB - La-Z-Boy, Inc. – Shares in furniture producer, La-Z-Boy, Inc., increased as much as 3.9% to $19.80 at the start of the session, the highest level since 2004, ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report after the closing bell today. Options volume is up ahead of the report, with roughly 400 contracts in play this afternoon versus average daily volume of around 80 contracts. Trading in La-Z-Boy call options is outpacing puts, with the call/put ratio up above 4.3 as of the time of this writing. Some traders appear to be p...
Today's market meme was "pleasant trading ahead of the Fed." The recently troublesome and highly volatile Nikkei finished the day with a minor slip of -0.20%, and the eurozone was on hold with the EURO STOXX 50 closing a hair below flat at -0.07%. On the home front, the June CPI report for May offered no surprises and the housing numbers (permits and starts) were a bit light but not statistically significant. With no news from June FOMC until tomorrow afternoon, the S&P 500 opened at its intraday low, 0.04% above yesterday's close, and traded with no drama to its intraday high, up 0.92%, in the mid-afternoon. The buying eased in the last 45 minutes of trading and the index closed with a modestly trimmed gain of 0.78%.
After the volatile session yesterday, the S&P 500 has broken back above the channel we have been discussing for a few weeks and now the Russell 2000 and NASDAQ appear to be joining (was not the case yesterday). If not for the focus on the FOMC presser tomorrow you'd have a nice clean breakout starting here. Tomorrow is of course a major wildcard.
On a related note – the 50 day moving average has been quite the support in 2013. In fact no year other than 1995 in the past 30 comes close to what we are seeing this year. ...
The market responded well today to good economic news and to the positive and somewhat surprising response to the election of a moderate Iranian President. Some moderation in Turkey didn’t hurt either, and overnight positive markets in Asia and Europe gave bullish investors enough encouragement to buy equities broadly.
This drove all three major domestic indices up about 1% before a late small selloff left the S&P 500 Index up nearly 1% and the Nasdaq and Dow Jones Industrial Average both up well over 0.5%. We think it likely this week that the market will challenge highs set in late May.
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I am going to share with you how I manage my IRA and the power of reducing your cost basis. My goal each year is a 20% return in my IRA. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don't, but I believe that all of my success is due to reducing my cost basis. To illustrate the power of reducing your cost basis here are some trades we did last year. These trades are taken from an educational portfolio we ran in a paper-trading account for a little more than a year.
We bought RIG on 5/15/2012 for $44.13, sold it on 1/18/2013 for $46 but booked a profit of $1,154.
We bought MT on 1/4/2012 for $19.24, sold it on 12/21/2012 for $15 but booked a profit of $454.
We bought CHK on 1/27/2012 for $21.93, sold it on 10/19/2012 for $18 b...
Stock market posts another record setting week, but the big news came after Friday’s close.
Courtesy of NASA
The stock market put on another record setting show with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) closing at a record high 15,118 and the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) closing at 1633.70, another all time closing high.
For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) gained 1%, the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) climbed 1.2%, the Nasdaq Composite (NYSEARCA:...
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Well, well, well....it is good to know that there are others in the scientific arena who believed that YMI Bioscience's data (cough - Gilead) is a better drug than Incyte's Jakafi. Now, the definitive data are still unknown, but there was enough evidence from a Phase 2 trial to take a small risk for a huge reward. So, let's forget about Apple (AAPL), and do nothing but biotechs from now until Congress passes universal health care coverage for prescriptions....and drive the prices down so that research and development is no longer feasible to conduct in the US. Even Seattle Genetics (SGEN) has been on a tear as of late...
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