by Option Review - May 9th, 2013 6:14 pm
Today’s tickers: NWSA, IYR & CTRP
by Option Review - July 12th, 2012 2:50 pm
Today’s tickers: SVU, KR & IYR
SVU - Supervalu, Inc. – Investors lost their appetite for shares in the third-largest U.S. grocer today, sending the stock down 48% to $2.76 after the company suspended its dividend, reported first quarter earnings and sales that missed estimates and said it will explore alternatives for the business. Options activity on Supervalu exploded on the news, with volume exceeding 65,000 contracts versus the stock’s average daily options volume of 4,722 contracts. Puts are changing hands around 1.5 times for each call options in play so far today. Buyers of more than 8,000 puts at the July $3.0 strike for a premium of $0.30 apiece this morning may profit at expiration next week if shares continue to spiral down. Bearish positioning in the Oct. $2.0 strike put, where a block of 5,000 contracts were picked up at a premium of $0.30 each, suggests one strategist may profit if the stock loses another 40% of its value within the next few months to expiration. Contrarian players are also leaving footprints across SVU options today, with around 6,100 calls at the July $3.0 strike purchased at a premium of $0.21 each earlier in the trading session. Shares in Supervalu would need to rebound 16% off the low of $2.76 in order for call buyers to make money at expiration next week.
KR - Kroger Co. – Shares in Kroger are down in sympathy with Supervalu today, trading lower by 3.95% to stand at $21.91 as of 12:45 p.m. in New York. Options on SVU’s competitors in the supermarket space are far more active than usual today, including options on Kroger. Volume currently stands at 5,000 contracts versus average daily options volume of 429 contracts. Trading traffic in options set to expire in January of 2013 points to continued volatility in the grocer’s shares. It looks like one trader purchased around 1,300 calls at the Jan. 2013 $22 strike for a premium of…
by Option Review - August 26th, 2011 2:26 pm
Today’s tickers: P, IYR, TIF & BAC
P - Pandora Media Inc. – Demand for options covering Pandora, the online music company that went public in June, jumped after the company reported better-than-expected earnings of $0.02 a share for the second quarter. Pandora’s first earnings report since become a publicly traded company sent shares up as much as 11.5% to an intraday high of $13.90 as its top- and bottom-line results topped expectations. Despite the spike in the price of the underlying today, shares continue to trade at a substantial discount to its initial public offering price of $16.00. The positive earnings report spurred bulls to the options market, with notable volume building in September contract puts. It looks like one trader expecting Pandora’s shares to resist above $12.00 through expiration next month sold roughly 3,000 put options outright at the September $12 strike at a premium of $0.70 per contract. The put seller walks away with the full amount of premium at expiration as long as shares in Pandora exceed $12.00 and the options expire worthless. The short stance in Pandora puts suggests the trader may wind up having around 300,000 shares put to him at an effective price of $11.30 each at September expiration if the stock slips beneath $12.00 in the next three weeks. Options implied volatility on Pandora Media Inc. stand 29.2% lower post earnings at 82.54% this afternoon.
IYR - iShares Dow Jones US Real Estate Index Fund – A sizable put spread on the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index Fund yields maximum benefit to one bearish strategist if the price of the underlying drops substantially by the end of the year. Shares in the IYR, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index, turned positive in the aftermath of…
by Phil Davis - July 4th, 2011 8:29 am
What a crazy couple of weeks.
Ka-ching is the word though as we did NOTHING – as planned back on the 18th, in our last update - as we expected the market to go down then up. On Friday, we took our short puts off the table as we expect there is a better than average possibility that we go back down again between now and expirations (15th), so we took our short-term winners off the table. The only move we did execute in the past two weeks, other than taking our virtual money and running, was the sale of 10 FCX July $47 puts for $1.21 ($1,120) on the 24th and those cashed out yesterday at .13, up $1,080 two weeks early so of course we take it off the table!
Our other short July puts that were cashed out were:
by Phil Davis - June 18th, 2011 8:26 am
Well, this is embarrassing…
When we set up this virtual portfolio on April 9th, the idea was to create a virtual portfolio for people like my Mom, who just became a widow, and so many of her friends, who need a relatively safe place to invest their money but would rather not live off the 6% returns generated by the typical retirement fund. Our primary goals in the virtual portfolio is A) Don’t Lose Money, which is Warren Buffett’s Rule #1 of investing and B) To generate a relatively steady monthly income of $4,000 against our $500,000 virtual portfolio (about 10% a year).
Despite the fact that we have allocated less than 40% of our cash, we have accidentally made WAY too much money already and this is NOT the lesson we are trying to teach! What happened is, this past couple of weeks, we had a really nice dip in the markets and our disaster hedges kicked in – as they are supposed to – but our other positions were already well-hedged and well positioned enough that they haven’t really lost anything so we ended up far, far ahead of the curve. While that’s a good thing, obviously, the danger here is getting the wrong idea. We got lucky – and one day we may get unlucky – so let’s keep ourselves grounded and people who are just catching up need to keep in mind that this is not meant to be a get-rich quick virtual portfolio.
If we made too much money on a dip – it’s because we were OVER-hedged and that’s something we will attempt NOT to do in the future. To some extent, it’s a discipline problem for me because I essentially BET that the market would go down and then I BET the market would go back up with our DIA adjustments (as well as overriding our original plan to stop out our new short puts with 30% losses). There was a logic to it because we were only about 25% invested so we had plenty of cash to layer in bullish plays if the market did go up and they we would have rolled our protective shorts (which would have been losing) up to cover. Instead, the shorts paid off and we didn’t have enough bullish positions to hurt us. As we get more invested, we won’t have the luxury…
by Option Review - March 1st, 2011 4:04 pm
Today’s tickers: GG, LINE, IYR & YHOO
GG - Goldcorp, Inc. – Shares of the gold mining company are trading up at their highest in more than 2 years, and a number of options traders are betting Goldcorp’s shares have more room to run in the near term. Call options on GG are in high demand, with more than 3.1 calls changing hands on the stock for each single put option in action today. Shares in the name are currently up 3.5% at an intraday- and new 2-year high of $49.50. Investors expecting the price of the underlying to continue to move higher picked up more than 1,750 calls at the March $50 strike for an average premium of $0.84 apiece. Traders exchanged more than 6,600 calls up at the March $52.5 strike versus previously existing open interest of just 537 contracts. The majority of the calls, or roughly 4,500 contracts, were purchased at the March $52.5 strike for an average premium of $0.29 a-pop. Call buyers at this strike start making money if shares in Goldcorp rally another 6.6% over today’s high of $49.50 to surpass the average breakeven point at $52.79 by March expiration. Options implied volatility on the gold mining company increased 8.0% to 30.88% by 12:45pm.
LINE - Linn Energy LLC – The oil and natural gas company popped up on our scanners this morning due to options activity in the July contract. The spread appears to be the work of an investor positioning for shares to hit a new 52-week high ahead of expiration. Shares in Linn Energy LLC are down slightly by 0.33% to stand at $38.70 in early afternoon trade. It looks like the strategist responsible for the transaction sold 2,000 puts at the July $36 strike for a premium of $1.15 per contract…
by Phil Davis - November 17th, 2010 7:52 am
Strap in kids, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
Nomura Holdings joined Goldman Sachs in advising investors to cash out of China and that sent the Hang Seng down 478 points for the day (2%) along with another 2% loss on the Shanghai. “The likelihood of a re-introduction of price controls on food is growing,” Nomura’s Sean Darby said in a report today. “The recent run-up in agriculture prices worldwide and signs of hoarding appear to have pushed the authorities to reconsider draconian measures.” Premier Wen Jiabao confirmed on state television that the cabinet is drafting measures to counter overly rapid price gains. “Command style economic principles generally mean much lower multiples over time on the sector and stocks,” said Darby.
The US has it’s own "command style" economy with B-B-B-Bennie and the Fed commanding our inflation to go higher while China is trying to get their 4.4% inflation under control. The joke is, like Sidney Poitier and and Tony Curtis, our economies are shackled together through the Yuan peg as well as our codependent trading relationship. That has the World’s #1 (falling) and #2 (rising) economies engaged in a Global tug of war that threatens to tear the rest of the World to pieces and it’s just getting worse every day.
With the US pushing top-down QE2 inflation and China’s Premier calling for consumer price controls on food (and soon fuel too as a severe winter is forecast for China) it’s not surprising that Carlsberg’s Chongquing Brewery Company fell limit down (10%) on the Shanghai this morning along with several other food and beverage distributors. Copper, sugar and rubber also went limit-down in China with copper dropping all the way to $3.60 (down 10% in a week) into China’s close at 3am.
Meanwhile Bernanke is like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Given the magic hat – he commands his broom army to fetch buckets of dollars to inflate the economy the easy way but his lazy solution quickly turns into disaster as the waters start rising and he finds he has no way to stem the rising tide of inflation. Already, the rest of the world is drowning and not many have China’s ability to bail themselves out. This is not likely to end well…
Europe (who are caught in the middle) is already under tremendous strain with Matt…
by Option Review - October 27th, 2010 4:35 pm
Today’s tickers: XLK, ENR, IYR, ALTR, AVP, JCP & TQNT
XLK - Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund – One big options market participant traded a total of 524,600 put options on the technology SPDR ETF this afternoon. It looks like the party responsible for the massive transactions rolled a previously established debit put spread in the December contract forward to the longer-dated March 2011 contract. Shares of the XLK, an exchange-traded fund that mirrors the performance of the Technology Select Sector of the S&P 500 Index, are down slightly by 0.20% to stand at $24.19 as of 2:15 pm in New York. The XLK jumped to the top of our ‘most active by options volume’ scanner after the 112,300-lot December $23/$20 put spread was sold for a net $0.31 per contract. This spread appears to have been initially purchased for a net premium of $0.68 each back on October 7, 2010, when the price of the underlying fund was trading around $23.14. Today, the XLK-options player sold the massive spread in order to purchase an even larger one at the same strike prices in the March 2011 contract. The new put position involved the purchase of 150,000 lots at the March 2011 $23 strike for a premium of $0.96 each, and the sale of the same number of puts at the lower March $2011 $20 strike at a premium of $0.31 apiece. In isolation, the net cost of buying the longer-dated put spread amounts to $0.65 per contract and yields downside protection for the investor should shares of the XLK trade below the breakeven price of $22.35 by March expiration. Enormous trades such as these tend to be tied to stock. Perhaps this trader is augmenting the size of the put spread because he has increased his exposure to the technology sector. Around the same time the puts were bring traded, some 733,000 shares of the underlying were purchased for $24.12 each. We note, however, that at this time there is no way…
by Option Review - September 7th, 2010 4:03 pm
Today’s tickers: CAKE, LVS, IYR, TEVA, EEM, S, CREE & EXPE
CAKE – The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. – One premium-hungry options strategist sold a strangle on the full-service dining restaurants operator this afternoon in the expectation that its shares are set to trade within a narrow range through October expiration. Cheesecake Factory’s shares fell 1.45% late in the session to trade at $25.38 by 3:35 pm ET. The investor sold 3,000 puts at the October $25 strike for premium of $1.05 apiece and sold 3,000 calls at the October $26 strike at a premium of $1.05 each in order to pocket gross premium of $2.10 per contract. Full retention of the premium received today occurs as long as shares of the underlying stock trade between $25.00 and $26.00 through October expiration. Wayward shifts in the price of CAKE’s shares could give this strangle-player a severe stomachache as losses start to build should shares rally above the upper breakeven price of $28.10, or if shares dip under the lower breakeven point at $22.90, ahead of expiration day in October.
LVS – Las Vegas Sands Corp. – Shares in casino resort operator Las Vegas Sands commenced the session in the red but rallied in afternoon trading to stand 1.05% higher on the day at $31.32 as of 3:45 pm ET. Earlier in the day shares increased as much as 1.5% to secure a new 52-week high of $31.46. One long-term bullish investor hoping to see continued appreciation in the price of the underlying stock established a covered call in the March 2011 contract. The trader sold 10,000 calls at the March 2011 $40 strike for premium of $1.73 per contract. The transaction had a delta of .30 and was tied to the purchase of LVS shares at $31.20 each. Premium received on the sale of the calls effectively reduces the price paid by the investor to get long the stock. The bullish player is poised to accumulate maximum potential gains of 35.7% on the run up in LVS shares from an effective purchase price of $29.47 to $40.00 if the calls land in-the-money at expiration and the underlying position is called away from the trader at that time.
IYR – iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index ETF – The construction of a debit put spread on the IYR, an exchange-traded fund that corresponds to the Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index…
by Option Review - August 28th, 2010 5:04 pm
Today’s tickers: IYR, NSM, IGT, GFRE, LNC, BHI, ONNN & HPQ
IYR – iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index ETF – A three-legged bearish options combination play on the IYR, an exchange-traded fund designed to provide investment results that correspond to the price and yield performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index – an index created to measure the performance of the real estate sector of the U.S. equity market, indicates one big player is bracing for a pullback in shares of the ETF through the end of 2010. Shares of the fund went the way of the market this afternoon and rallied 1.05% to $50.71 with less than one hour remaining in the trading week. The investor sold roughly 10,000 calls at the December $55 strike at an average premium of $1.35 each, purchased about 10,000 puts at the December $50 strike for an average premium of $3.65 apiece, and shed 10,000 puts at the lower December $43 strike at an average premium of $1.43 a-pop. The net cost of the pessimistic play is reduced to $0.87 per contract. The transaction could be a hedge to protect the value of a large position in IYR shares. But, if the spread represents an outright bearish bet on the ETF, the investor is poised to profit should shares dip below the average breakeven price of $49.13 by December expiration. Maximum available profits in this scenario amount to $6.13 per contract if the fund’s shares plummet 15.2% from the current price to trade below $43.00 by expiration day.
NSM – National Semiconductor Corp. – Shares in semiconductor manufacturer, National Semiconductor Corp., earlier slipped 2.05% to touch a new 52-week low of $12.41, but the stock came roaring back to life in afternoon trading, rallying as much as 3.2% to an intraday high of $13.08. The significant shifts in the price of the underlying shares inspired investors to purchase both call and put options on the stock today. Options traders may also be gravitating toward NSM options ahead of the firm’s first-quarter earnings report scheduled for September 9, 2010. Investors heartened by the turn-around in shares purchased approximately 5,800 calls at the November $13 strike for an average premium of $0.85 apiece. Call buyers make money if National Semiconductor’s shares rally another 5.9% over today’s high of $13.08 to trade above the average breakeven price of $13.85 by expiration…