by Option Review - January 27th, 2011 4:52 pm
Today’s tickers: MJN, ETFC, GNK & CAT
MJN - Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. – The global provider of pediatric nutrition popped up on our scanners after long-dated call and put options changed hands in the January 2012 contract. Shares in Mead Johnson are down slightly by 0.40% as of 12:30pm to stand at $59.78. The Glenview, IL-based firm reported fourth-quarter earnings of $0.57 a share before the market opened, beating the average forecast by one penny, but revenues for the quarter came in at $803.7 million, which missed estimates of $808.0 million. It looks like one investor is positioning for Mead Johnson’s shares to increase substantially ahead of January 2012 expiration. The investor appears to have sold 1,900 puts at the January 2012 $50 strike at a premium of $2.68 each, in order to buy the same number of call options at the higher January 2012 $65 strike for a premium of $3.58 apiece. The net cost of the bullish risk reversal amounts to $0.90 per contract. Thus, the investor stands ready to make money should shares in MJN rally 10.2% over the current price of $59.78 to exceed the effective breakeven price of $65.90 by expiration day in one year’s time. Options implied volatility on the stock is down 16.4% at 26.00% in early afternoon trade.
ETFC - E*Trade Financial Corp. – Shares in the provider of online brokerage and other financial services rallied as much as 6.7% this morning to secure an intraday high of $16.85 despite a weaker-than-expected earnings report Wednesday evening. Analysts, on average, were expecting ETFC to earn $0.04 a share, but the fourth-largest U.S. retail brokerage said it lost $0.11 a share in the fourth quarter. The earnings miss has not stymied today’s rally in the price of the underlying shares, but traders are favoring…
by Option Review - September 13th, 2010 8:09 pm
Today’s tickers: V, EMC, MON, SAY, MJN, ADM, BBY, EDMC, EBAY & CHS
V – Visa, Inc. – Shares of the global payments company plunged 4.7% this afternoon to an intraday and new 52-week low of $64.90 following reports that said federal caps and pending litigation may limit Visa’s ability to increase prices. The price of the underlying was also helped lower by a downgrade to ‘market perform’ from ‘outperform’ at Sanford Bernstein, where analysts have a 12-month target price of $77.00 a share on the stock. The sharp decline in the price of the credit card issuer’s shares inspired near-term bearish options trading. More interesting, however, were the contrarian players seen initiating bullish positions in the longer-dated January 2012 contract. One optimistic strategist enacted a three-legged bullish combination play to position for a rebound in Visa’s shares. The investor appears to have sold roughly 2,500 puts at the January 2012 $50 strike for premium of $4.39 each, purchased about the same number of January 2012 $70 strike calls at an average premium of $8.37 a-pop, and sold approximately 2,500 calls at the higher January 2012 $90 strike for a premium of $2.50 apiece. The average net cost of the transaction reduces to $1.48 per contract. Thus, the contrarian player stands ready to make money should Visa’s shares jump 10.1% over today’s low of $64.90 to exceed the average breakeven price of $71.48 by expiration day. Maximum potential profits of $18.52 per contract are available to the investor should shares surge 38.7% to trade above $90.00 by January 2012 expiration. Visa’s shares last traded above $90.00 back on May 4, 2010. Options implied volatility on Visa, Inc. is up 10.8% at 33.75% with just over 20 minutes remaining ahead of the closing bell.
EMC – EMC Corp. – A large chunk of call options were purchased on EMC Corp. in early afternoon trading, however, it looks like the investor responsible for the transaction is taking a bearish stance on the stock rather than a bullish one. EMC’s shares rallied as much as 2.25% in the first half of the trading day to reach an intraday high of $20.43. The current 52-week high on the stock is $20.97, attained back on August 4, 2010. At first glance, the purchase of 20,000 calls at the January 2011 $21 strike at a premium of $1.00 each looks like a bullish bet by an…
by Option Review - March 29th, 2010 4:06 pm
Today’s tickers: AAPL, GDXJ, CEPH, LO, MHK, VRTX & MJN
AAPL – Apple, Inc. – Shares of the iPhone and iPod maker rallied to a new 52-week high of 233.87 in morning trading with just five days remaining before the firm’s newest product, the iPad, hits retail stores across the U.S. Bullish options trading patterns on the stock today indicate optimistic sentiment on Apple ahead of the iPad’s release on Saturday morning. One investor enacted a bullish put credit spread in the May contract in order to benefit from continued strength in the price of Apple’s shares through expiration. It looks like approximately 10,000 puts were shed at the May $210 strike for an average premium of $3.46 per contract, marked against the purchase of about the same number of puts at the lower May $200 strike for $1.95 each. The investor responsible for the spread pockets a net credit of $1.51 per contract, which he keeps in full as long as Apple’s shares trade above $210.00 through May expiration. Maximum potential losses faced by the trader amount to $8.49 per contract should shares of the underlying stock plummet 14.5% to $200.00 ahead of expiration day in May.
GDXJ – Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF – The GDXJ, which is an exchange-traded fund that seeks to replicate the price and yield performance of the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners Index, realized a 1.25% appreciation in the value of its underlying share price to $25.82 today. The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners Index tracks the overall performance of foreign and domestic publicly traded companies of small/medium-capitalization that primarily engage in gold and/or silver mining. Despite the move higher in shares today, one options trader initiated a bearish debit put spread in the May contract. It appears the investor purchased 10,000 in-the-money puts at the May $26 strike for a premium of $1.65 apiece and sold the same number of puts at the lower May $23 strike for $0.52 each. The net cost of the put spread amounts to $1.13 per contract. If the investor responsible for the trade holds no underlying share position, maximum potential profits of $1.87 per contract are available if shares slip to $23.00 by expiration day in May. However, the trader may be buying the spread to protect the value of an existing underlying share position, in which case protection kicks in beneath the breakeven share…
by Option Review - November 16th, 2009 4:21 pm
Today’s tickers: MJN, BMY, FTR & FDO
MJN – Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. – Over the weekend Bristol Myers Squibb decided to sell its remaining 83% stake in Mead Johnson, maker of baby formula, Enfamil. Mead Johnson shares declined by 2% to $44.35 and the additional uncertainty surrounding the issue caused options implied volatility to spike higher in early trading. On Friday the expected degree of movement on the stock stood at 36.5% before jumping today to 56.3% as investors wonder whether the company will be able to stand on its own two feet without Bristol Myers. One option trader who clearly knows the stock well enough appears to have used a short straddle combination to predict that today’s move is bogus on two fronts. Using the December contract the seller wrote around 1,500 call options at 35 cents and sold a similar number of puts at the same strike. Being deep-in-the-money put options the premium here fetched 8.00. The premium especially on the put is boosted by the direction of the share price today but mostly by the 55% leap in implied volatility. The investor thus expects the share price to rise should Bristol find a buyer and similarly expects lower volatility. Last week those puts traded at 6.60. One analyst Bristol Myers has been hunting for a buyer at $60 per share, which may indicate the value this company might add to a willing buyer.
BMY – Bristol Myers Squibb – For its part shares surged to a one-year high after it jettisoned Mead Johnson, rising 5.7% to $24.47. The progress was slow throughout the morning that some call sellers were left wanting at the November 24 strike. Early sellers were forced to rethink as they tossed out calls at 27 cents per contract only to see buyers step in shortly after 10am to pay 34 cents before things really got interesting with call options currently commanding a 65 cent premium. Some 9,800 calls changed hands at this strike – almost equivalent to the 10,694 previously established calls. Put sellers were also in evidence using the same November contract and collected rich premiums in the expectation that the share price will rise despite the additional risk that the company has a less diversified product line in light of the Mead Johnson announcement. Option implied volatility rose, but only jumped from 21% to 23%.
FTR – Frontier Communications Corp.…