by Option Review - July 11th, 2012 2:03 pm
Today’s tickers: VCLK, JPM & MOS
VCLK - ValueClick, Inc. – Options on the digital marketing services company and provider of Internet-based advertising solutions are far more active than usual today, with volume topping 2,500 contracts versus the stock’s average daily option volume of 397 contracts. The bulk of the activity in the name may suggest some investors believe the stock may make a big move to the upside in the near future. ValueClick is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings after the close on July 31st. The stock, which had dropped more than 35% from a 52-week high of $21.85 on May 1st down to $13.80 on June 28th, regained its footing at the end of June after the company said second-quarter revenue and adjusted EBITDA are likely to come in at the upper-end of its forecast range. The stock posted double-digit gains following the company’s positive comments and today trades 0.65% higher at $15.71. Call buying on the name today could pay off for some traders should the Q2 earnings report at the end of the month surprise to the upside. The Aug. $19 strike is the most heavily trafficked today, with more than 2,100 calls in play versus open interest of just 49 contracts. It looks like most of the calls were purchased for an average premium of $0.18 apiece in the first half of the trading session. Upside call buyers may profit in the event that shares in ValueClick jump 22% over the current price of $15.71, to top the average breakeven point at $19.18 by expiration next month.
JPM - JPMorgan Chase & Co. – Shares in JPMorgan are up better than 1.1% this morning at $34.64 as investors await the release of minutes from last month’s Federal Reserve meeting as well as the bank’s second-quarter earnings report on Friday. A sizable call spread initiated in the September expiry appears to…
by Phil Davis - March 7th, 2012 7:52 am
Was that it?
On February 24th I wrote "TGIF – Sell in March and Go Away?" and I laid out my case for why I thought we were going to fall off the table in March and we have, indeed, fallen right off the table right on schedule since then. I said that Friday, that the post was intended as a bookend to my September 30th bottom call as I felt that we had captured all of the upside we were likely to see off the "good news" that Greece was "fixed" and the economy was "improving."
I'm not going to say anything bad about the economy here, I'll let Michael Snyder do that with his "15 Potentially MASSIVE Threats to the US Economy over the next 12 Months" – I think he pretty much covers it! 8 trading days ago (2/24), we had two short trade ideas in our Morning Alert to Members, they were:
- SQQQ April $13/17 bull call spread at .70, still .70 (even)
- DXD April $13/15 bull call spread at net .55, now .70 – up 27%
In Member Chat that day, Exec asked if I was getting bearish and my response was:
Bearish/Exec – Are you kidding, this is me painting a sunny picture! Give me a few drinks and I'll tell you how off the rails the Global Economy is right now… Do you know how much Kool Aid I have to consume not to scream short on every single stock I see. CAT $116, CMG $386, DIA $130, GMCR we already did at $70, IBM $200, KO $70, MA $415, MCD $100, MMM $88, MO $30, MON $80, MOS $59, OIH $45, PCLN $593 (did them too), QQQ $64, SPY $137, TM $85, USO $41.50 (got 'em), UTX $84, V $117, WYNN $119, XOM $87, XRT $59 (got 'em) – and that's just off my watch list of stock I like to buy when they're cheap! We are not just priced for perfection, we are priced for perfection plus a return to full employment a forgiveness of all debts without write-downs and inflation without rising interest – we are priced for Nirvana!
by Option Review - January 20th, 2012 2:04 pm
Today’s tickers: MFC, MDVN & MOS
MFC - Manulife Financial Corp. – The single largest options trade on Canadian life insurer Manulife Financial Corp. suggests one strategist is positioning for the price of the underlying to potentially post double-digit gains in the first half of the year. Shares in MFC currently trade 1.6% higher on the day at $12.36. The stock rose around 6.0% this week, helped higher in part by speculation and rumors the financial services may be interested in acquiring ING’s Asian and European insurance and investment management businesses. ING last week announced it hired J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs to explore a sale of the units. Takeover chatter aside, Manulife’s shares have moved up sharply in 2012, rising nearly 20.0% in the three weeks elapsed since the year began. One options trader looking further gains in the stock through June expiration initiated a bull call spread today. It appears the investor purchased a 7,500-lot June $13/$16 call spread for a net premium outlay of $0.80 per contract. Profits are available on the spread if Manulife’s shares rally another 11.7% to surpass the average breakeven price of $13.80, while maximum potential profits of $2.20 per contract require a nearly 30.0% upward move in the stock to or above $16.00 by June expiration. MFC is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results ahead of the opening bell on February 9.
MDVN - Medivation, Inc. – The San Francisco, California-based biopharmaceutical company popped up on our market scanners this morning after a sizable position was initiated in February contract call and put options. Shares in Medivation are off slightly today, down 0.50% at $51.97 as of 12:10 p.m. ET, adding to declines realized earlier in the trading week. The stock has dipped 8.0% since…
by Phil Davis - January 13th, 2011 8:16 am
The last of the bears are now capitulating. We’re hearing it in Member Chat and we’re reading it in analyst reports and we’re seeing the fund managers on TV – it is very out vogue to be a bear.
Just a few weeks ago, I pointed out to Members how few bears remained by saying "Look to your left, look to your right, look in front of you and look behind you – you would be the only bear." That was way back when "only" 20% of investors were bearish – as of yesterday, we lost 1/3 of those poor creatures and now only 13% of the market is bearish. Now you can look diagonally as well and you’ll STILL be the only bear!
Certainly the market seems to be proving the primary axiom of "You can’t fight the Fed." Pretty much no matter what happens, the market goes up. Bryan Leighton from Traddr! Makes a good point saying: "It’s a neutral to positive market and the only thing that can change that is some sort of surprise event out of Europe or out of Asia or something major out of the US that the Fed is not ready for or prepared for. If they are prepared for it – it will not happen – it will not have a major effect on the markets."
That’s the reality we’re dealing with out there. As long as the Fed and their pet IBanks are running the markets and as long as volume is at 3-year lows, allowing the TradeBots to control each move – then it is wrong to be a bear. But, is it 87% wrong? 87% bullish sentiment isn’t just "very" bullish – it’s a new, historic high. It’s like going to a fight where the entire crowd only cheers for one guy which, like professional wrestling, would be an automatic indication that the game must be fake, Fake, FAKE!
As you can see from this longer-term chart, we are as extremely bullish now as we were extremely bearish in the two worst market events of the past quarter-century. Much the way that Black Monday of 1987 and the Crashes of 2008/9 were unique buying opportunities at 15% bullish, this may be a unique shorting opportunity at 15% bearish that you are not likely to see again for…
by Phil Davis - October 15th, 2010 6:12 pm
Up and up the markets go, where they stop – only Ben knows!
We actually initiated the October 8 picks on Thurs, Sept 30th, when we had that crazy Dow spike to 10,950. As it was the last day of the month we got an instant winner on the NFLX play and some other good ones as we plunged to 10,700 that Monday. In between, when I wrote the post on Sunday, Oct 3rd, I said "I hate to go short."
We were still very bullish in our virtual portfolios (see September’s Dozen, Turning $10K to $50K, Defending with Dividends, 9 Fabulous Dow Plays and the June 26th Buy List) since the June bottom (and we were early on that call too) but we felt is was time to start covering with some bearish plays as we completed our projected 12.5% run back 11,000. These 8 trade ideas were to get the ball rolling in October. Since then we have flown up to 11,062 on the Dow, slightly over our projected top, much the way 9,650 was slightly below our projected bottom in July. The rally still has not retraced enough to cause us to give up on our long-term longs so this is a BALANCING move on an expected pullback, not an overall long-term bearish posture – always be clear about that! We’ve been bullish since the beginning of July as this point it pays to diversify.
Like July, we can take advantage of the the spike out of our range to scale into positions and to roll and adjust the trades and, like July, we looked at some bullish covers along the way – just in case we are even earlier than we thought. I’m not going to get into the whole macro thing here – I did that all week but everything old is new again, as you can see from this chart:
I don’t know how well you can see this but I copied the current rally and lined up the bottom with the Feb rally. It’s hard to see because the movement is VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL. That’s right, Lloyd is either too lazy or too cheap to even bother to change the Bots he uses to gooses the markets. As you can see in the area with the extra lines – day after day, tick…
by Phil Davis - October 3rd, 2010 8:24 am
I hate to go short.
Generally, I’m an upbeat person and it’s much more fun "rescuing" beaten-down companies than standing on the shoulders of giants and hoping they trip up. Still, what goes up, must come down and sometimes the market lets us bet on something as mundane as gravity. While many companies have a knack for defying gravity at one time or another, my early childhood was formed with Blood, Sweat and Tears, who told us "what goes up, must go down." Between listening Al Kooper and Isaaic Newton, I became fairly convinced about this whole gravity thing and, I must say, the theory has generally held up during my lifetime of observation.
It has been ages since we had a bearish list with our last set coming on April 28th, which was the last time we had a fake, manipulated, rally. At that time, I wrote "Hedging for Disaster, 5 Plays that Make 500% if the Market Falls" and that list had a 100% success rate but the market didn’t start falling until May 4th – while gravity may be reliable, it isn’t always punctual (Einstein has plenty to say about that). We flipped bullish again on May 26th, with the Dow at about 9,700 (the bottom of our range) when I put up "The Down and Dirty Buy List!" which turned into our "Q2 201 – Top 20 Buy List" when we got our double dip on June 7th. Those were long-term positions as we got comfortable with the bottom of our range at 9,700, 5% below our 10,200 mid-point on the Dow.
On July 7th we got another dip and we added "9 Fabulous Dow Plays Plus a Chip Shot" and that was the last chance we had to make a strong buy list of long-term plays. Of course we add plays daily in Member Chat but I like to try to put up a collection of trade ideas whenever the opportunity presents itself as we learn more by going back and reviewing a few sample virtual portfolios and seeing what works and what doesn’t over time. We were less enthusiastic on July 26th, with the Dow at 10,400 as we adjusted our aggressive shorter-term virtual portfolio aimed at "Turning $10K to $50K by Jan 21st" and on August 29th the Dow was…
by ilene - September 12th, 2010 4:03 pm
Farmer Brown here again. One of my key longer-term themes for growth investing is and has been the Agriculture Play for a few years now. The global demographics, while seemingly moving at a glacial pace to the short-term thinkers, are simply undeniable over the intermediate to longer term.
A recent landmark piece of research from Goldman Sachs suggests that stock market capitalization in emerging countries may grow fivefold over the next 20 years to more than $80 trillion. Keep in mind that this is the same research department that nailed owning the BRIC country stocks as the Market Call of the Last Decade.
More prosperity reaching the developing world (a majority of the earth’s population) means a historic shift in the world’s diet from simple grains to meats. The first thing a Third World peasant farmer-turned-industrialist goes upscale on is his food. And once you go chicken and beef, it’s mighty hard to go back to sprouts. Unless you think that globalization and gentrification will reverse, this shift probably represents the most monumental investing opportunity of our lifetime.
The theme is becoming a well-known one, but now we’ve reached the juncture where we must ask the age old question of "What’s the trade?". If there was one takeaway from the book The Greatest Trade Ever, it’s that lots of folks saw the housing and mortgage crash coming, but only a few figured out how to express that awareness into a profitable trade.
The Ag Story is every bit as fat a pitch coming down Broadway for investors as the real estate crash was. The flash food riots that rippled around the globe briefly in early 2008 were likely a mere preamble to something much bigger, but how do we set ourselves up for it? The considerations here are getting the timing right, owning the correct vehicles, staying perspicacious in the event that the winners start breaking away from the pack early and, finally, having enough bases covered that you don’t nail the theme but miss the upside (also known as mis-expressing the trade).
by Option Review - July 9th, 2010 6:30 pm
Today’s tickers: XLF, MOS, RIMM, F, VVUS, WEN & ALTR
XLF – Financial Select Sector SPDR – Near-term bullish bets that shares of the XLF, an exchange-traded fund designed to provide investment results that correspond to the price and yield performance of the Financial Select Sector of the S&P 500 Index, are set to rally ahead of July expiration jumped during afternoon trading. Shares of the ETF increased nearly 1.5% during the session to stand at $14.52 by 3:15 pm (ET). Options investors itching for a rally in the price of the underlying shares purchased at least 115,000 calls outright at the July $15 strike for an average premium of $0.08 per contract. Call buyers are prepared to profit should shares of the XLF gain 3.85% to trade above the average breakeven price of $15.08 by expiration next Friday.
MOS – The Mosaic Co. – Shares of the producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients are up 3.3% to $46.20 with less than 45 minutes remaining ahead of the closing bell. Mosaic’s shares earlier rallied as much as 3.95% to touch an intraday high of $46.49. One bullish strategist purchased a debit call spread on the stock in order to position for Mosaic’s shares to increase substantially by expiration day in September. The trader picked up 2,800 calls at the September $50 strike for an average premium of $1.99 apiece, and sold the same number of calls at the higher September $65 strike for an average premium of $0.07 each. Net premium paid for the spread amounts to $1.92 per contract. The investor responsible for the transaction makes money as long as the potash producer’s shares surge 12.4% in the next several months to exceed the average breakeven point on the spread at $51.92 by expiration. Maximum available profits of $13.08 per contract pad the investor’s wallet if MOS shares jump 39.8% to trade above $65.00 by expiration day in September. Mosaic’s shares last traded above $65.00 back on January 11, 2010, when the stock reached an intraday and new 52-week high of $68.28.
RIMM – Research in Motion Ltd. – News the Blackberry maker plans to start an applications store as well as consumer Internet services in China sent RIMM’s shares up 8.47% in afternoon trading to an intraday high of $53.65 by 3:25 pm (ET). Optimism on the firm’s expansion in the Chinese market was…
by Option Review - July 7th, 2010 4:11 pm
Today’s tickers: MSG, MOS, LUV, ILMN, GHDX, FCN, KBH, LCC & CSX
MSG – Madison Square Garden, Inc. – Speculation as to which team will acquire the larger-than-life LeBron James continues to mount ahead of the basketball superstar’s Thursday night announcement on ESPN. One options investor put uncertainty in the marketplace to good use by purchasing a strangle on Madison Square Garden, Inc., the fully-integrated sport, entertainment and media business, which, among other things, owns and operates sports franchises including the New York Knicks. MSG’s shares are currently up 1.5% to $20.58 as of 2:50 pm (ET), but earlier surged 5.4% to an intraday high of $21.36. MSG edged onto our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner after the trader purchased a long strangle in the July contract. The investor appears to be positioning for a dramatic shift in the price of the underlying shares ahead of July expiration. The options strategist purchased a 2,000-lot strangle, buying 2,000 calls at the July $22.5 strike for a premium of $0.60 apiece, and buying 2,000 puts at the lower July $20 strike for a premium of $0.50 each. The net cost of the transaction amount to $1.10 per contract and prepares the strangle-player to benefit nicely as long as MSG’s shares take off running in either direction. Profits are available to the investor if shares rally straight through the current 52-week high on the stock of $22.95 to trade above the effective upper breakeven price of $23.60. If LeBron James were to join the NY Knicks it has been said the value of the MSG franchise will increase significantly. The strangler will certainly benefit if the Knickerbockers turn out to be James’ new teammates because MSG shares are likely to soar. Conversely, the options strategist is poised to profit to the downside should shares trade below the lower breakeven price of $18.90 ahead of expiration day. Perhaps the investor is expecting shares of the underlying stock to suffer if LeBron ends up with a different team. Either way, the investor responsible for the strangle strategy is positioned to benefit from a wayward shift in the price of the underlying stock. But, the trader will lose the full premium paid, $1.10 per contract in this case, if shares trade within the confines of the strike prices described at expiration. Finally, the investor may profit if implied volatility on MSG, which is currently up…
by Option Review - March 24th, 2010 4:30 pm
Today’s tickers: SMH, X, WMT, SYMC, MOS, SKS, GE, GENZ, DVN & ADBE
SMH – Semiconductor HOLDRS Trust – Massive bearish positioning on the Semiconductor HOLDRS Trust, which holds shares of common stock issued by 20 different companies engaged in the semiconductor business, indicates shares of the underlying stock may be set to tumble lower ahead of expiration day next month. Shares of the SMH are down 2.40% to $27.92 with thirty minutes remaining in the trading session. It appears one investor purchased 50,000 put options at the April $27 strike for an average premium of $0.41 per contract. Such a large stake in bearish put options suggests the purchaser is perhaps paying for the privilege of securing downside protection on a long underlying stock position. If this is the case, the put contracts yield protection should shares of the SMH trade beneath the effective breakeven price of $26.59 ahead of expiration. Of course, it is also possible the trader does not currently own shares of the SMH. In this scenario the investor makes money if shares fall another 4.75% below the current price to breach the breakeven point on the puts at $26.59. The sudden flurry of options activity on the Semiconductor HOLDRS Trust lifted the overall reading of options implied volatility 7.8% to 26.35%. SMH-investors exchanged more than 131,900 contracts this afternoon, which represents nearly 72% of total existing open interest of 183,473 contracts.
X – United States Steel Corp. – Shares of iron and steel producer, United States Steel Corp., rallied 0.65% during afternoon trading to $63.75. Bullish traders anticipating continued share price appreciation for U.S. Steel purchased out-of-the-money call options in the October contract. Nearly 5,600 calls were coveted at the October $75 strike for an average premium of $4.68 apiece. Investors holding these call contracts stand ready to accrue profits if shares of the underlying stock surge 25% to surpass the effective breakeven share price of $79.68 ahead of expiration day in October. We note that U.S. Steel’s share price last traded above $80.00 during the final days of September 2008.
WMT – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. – The largest retailer on the planet experienced a slight pullback in the value of its shares this afternoon perhaps on news the firm may sell $2 billion of 5- and 30-year senior notes. Shares edged 0.40% lower during the session stand at $55.68. Options traders expecting lower volatility…