by Option Review - March 28th, 2012 1:16 pm
Today’s tickers: GRPN, PNR & NVDA
GRPN - Groupon, Inc. – The provider of a diverse mix of local daily deals featuring anything from Botox injections and manicures to fine-dining experiences and cupcakes, popped up on our scanners this morning after a sizable options combo play was initiated in the May expiry. Shares in Groupon are in negative territory this afternoon, but earlier increased as much as 2.6% to touch an intraday high of $18.76. The stock, which reached a peak of $27.78 in its first day as a publicly traded company back in November, just about halved in value in the weeks following the IPO. Quick rallies in the share price paired with subsequent pullbacks have been a fairly consistent pattern for GRPN shares in 2012, though recently the stock price has been less volatile, trading in the range of roughly $16.25 to $18.60 in the past few weeks. Perhaps the relative stagnation in the shares spurred one option strategist to position for the stock to take another stab at the upside in the next couple of months. The trader appears to have sold 5,000 May $13 strike put options in order to partially finance the purchase of a 5,000-lot May $19/$22 call spread, all for a net premium outlay of $0.55 per contract. The three-way spread prepares the trader to make money should GRPN’s shares rally 7.8% over the current price of $18.14 to surpass the average breakeven point at $19.55 by expiration in May. Maximum possible profits of $2.45 per contract are available on the position as long as shares in the daily deals provider jump 21.3% to settle above $22.00 at expiration. Groupon, Inc. is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings after the market closes on May 8th.
PNR - Pentair, Inc. – Shares in both…
by Option Review - May 19th, 2011 4:24 pm
Today’s tickers: BEN, NVDA, XL & BLL
BEN - Franklin Resources, Inc. – Put options on the provider of investment management and related services through subsidiaries Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series, Bissett, Fiduciary and Darby, are more active than usual this morning. It looks like some traders are taking a cautious stance on the stock, and perhaps with good reason. On May 2 the stock managed to rally to within $0.20 of its February 16 52-week high of $130.97, but between those two dates, BEN’s shares dropped nearly 13.5% to as low as $113.34 on March 15. Imagine put buyers are long the stock. Longs could be concerned about Franklin Resources’ failure to hit a higher-high recently, but not so worried that they’re ready to ditch the stock all together. Holding put options on BEN serves to alleviate fears of a pullback and allows traders to benefit in the event that the stock pushes higher over the next couple of months. BEN’s shares are currently down 0.60% to stand at $126.35 as of 11:40am in New York. Investors traded more than 3,600 puts at the June $120 strike on open interest of 913 contracts. It looks like the majority of the puts were purchased today for an average premium of $2.28 a-pop. Put buyers profit, or realize downside protection, should BEN’s shares plunge 6.8% from the current price of $126.35 to breach the average breakeven point on the downside at $117.72 by expiration day next month. An alternative interpretation of the put activity on BEN is that investors are placing outright bearish bets on the stock. Traders employing this type of strategy are looking to profit from a sharp decline in the price of the underlying by expiration. The rise in demand for put options on Franklin Resources helped lift the overall reading of options implied volatility on the stock 3.2% to 22.35% in early-afternoon trade.…
by Phil Davis - January 1st, 2011 8:28 am
I am still trying to get more bullish.
I was thinking about writing something cute like I resolve to get more bullish but that would be wrong. I try, in my own humble way, to "get" the market right. That means I am not bullish or bearish but Truthish (to further botch Stephen Colbert’s use of the word) and, as Buddah says: "There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting." Confucious reminds us that there are three methods by which we may learn wisdom: "First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."
In that spirit, we will spend the day in reflection so that we are better able to start on that long road to the truth so that we will be better able to imitate the things that will work in the year to come while trying to avoid making mistakes that will give us bitter experiences.
This post is not about me – We had a fantastic year and I’ve already given some outlook for 2011 back on the 19th in that weekend’s "It’s Never too Early to Predict the Future" and our current position is short-term bearish in the Jan-April time-frame, looking for a pullback to at least 1,200 on the S&P and possibly back to 1,150.
After that, we are expecting a return to steady gains but without the irrational exuberance we’re currently experiencing. So no, I am not bearish – I simply think we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves. Since we don’t know where the rally train will stop, we have our "Breakout Defense – 5,000% in 5 Trades or Less" from Dec 11th, which were a set of very bullish, highly levered plays where a little bet can pay off a lot if we simply hold our long-established breakout levels.
How much is "a lot"? Well my GE trade idea, for example, was to sell the 2013 $12.50 puts for $1.10 (net $1.15 in ordinary margin according to TOS) and to use that money to buy the 2012 $17.50/20 bull call spread for .95, which was a net .15 credit on a $2.50 spread that was on the money at the time. GE has gained about .75 since the 11th and…
by Option Review - November 12th, 2010 4:44 pm
Today’s tickers: NVDA, GMCR, EEM & GLD
NVDA - Nvidia Corp. – It appears that Nvidia’s strategic change might be paying off after challenges to its core chipset business from AMD and Intel threatened to derail its fortunes. Earlier results showed profits beat expectations albeit by a penny but prompted the company to raise revenue forecasts in a sign of a revival in personal computer demand. The company’s revival involves new products in the market for chips that run add-in graphics to computers. The success is reviving investors’ appetite for the stock, which had earlier lost one-third of its value during 2010. On September 24, our market scanners picked up on a brace of bullish calendar call spreads on the stock using nearby January and March options against January 2012 call options. At the time there were also suggestions in the market that Oracle might be looking to acquire Nvidia. Following a near-8% pop in the stock today to $13.63 the investors appears to be taking a healthy profit on at least part of the trade by selling almost 20,000 January calls at the $14 strike and buying back a similar short position in the January 2012 calls at the $22.50 strike. The bullish positioning at the time cost this investor a mere 16 cents to enact and from what we can tell this morning the trade was closed at a healthy 81% gain.
GMCR - Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. – We’re not quite sure the reason behind a three-day slump in shares at operator of the fast-growing Keurig single-cup coffee brewer is, but shares have slumped by 11% to $31.05 on Friday. Perhaps investors are expecting demand destruction as a shortage of beans sends coffee futures above $2.00 per pound. However, perhaps growing threats to the niche market are…
by Option Review - September 24th, 2010 4:15 pm
Today’s tickers: AMAG, BID, ERIC, BAX, NVDA, VIT, BVF & ETFC
AMAG – AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc. – Safety concerns surrounding AMAG’s Feraheme, the biopharmaceutical firm’s intravenous iron-replacement therapy for patients with chronic kidney disease and its lead product, continue to drive shares to new lows. Shares are down 4.00% at $18.15 as of 3:20 pm ET, but earlier plunged 11.6% to touch down at an intraday- and 4-year low of $16.70. Today’s low of $16.70 put shares down 68.2% since January 12, 2010, when the stock was trading up at its 52-week high of $52.49. Erosion in the price of AMAG’s shares accelerated at the end of August when the FDA added Feraheme to a list of products touting serious risks and connected the drug to unspecified serious cardiac disorders. One options investor appears to be positioning for shares to continue to decline by enacting a ratio put spread in the October contract. The trader purchased approximately 2,500 puts at the October $18 strike for premium of $1.98 each, and sold roughly 5,000 puts at the lower October $16 strike at a premium of $0.84 apiece. Average net premium paid to establish the spread amounts to $0.30 per contract. Thus, the strategist stands ready to profit if AMAG’s shares slip beneath the effective breakeven price of $17.70 by expiration. Maximum potential profits of $1.70 per contract are available to the trader if AMAG shares fall 11.85% from the current price of $18.15 to settle at $16.00 at expiration. The ratio of twice as much sold puts as long puts held by the investor expose him to losses should shares collapse below the effective lower breakeven price of $14.30 by expiration day next month.
BID – Sotheby’s, Inc. – Shares of the auctioneer fine art, antiques and other collectibles rallied as much as 7.65% this afternoon to touch an intraday high of $35.86. One options investor bought call options back in August and was well positioned to book profits on today’s rally. It looks like the trader originally purchased some 1,000 calls at the October $35 strike at an average premium of $0.90 each back on August 11, 2010, when BID’s shares were trading at a volume-weighted average price of $29.41. Shares have since increased significantly, boosting premium on the October $35 strike calls. Thus, the bullish player was able to sell all 1,000 lots at that strike for a premium…
by Option Review - September 21st, 2010 4:04 pm
Today’s tickers: XHB, DHI, NVDA, RL, BSX, GCI, XRT & AMR
XHB – SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF – Long-term bullish trading in call options on the homebuilders sector jumped today on news housing starts in the U.S. rebounded in August. Shares of the XHB, an exchange-traded fund designed to track the performance of the S&P Homebuilders Select Industry Index, increased as much as 1.6% this afternoon to touch an intraday high of $15.83 as of 2:40 pm ET. One bullish trader expecting the price of the underlying fund to appreciate substantially over the next 16 months scooped up approximately 50,000 calls at the January 2012 $16 strike for an average premium of $2.56 apiece. The call options position the investor to accrue profits should shares surge 17.25% over today’s high of $15.83 to surpass the effective breakeven price of $18.56 by expiration day. Shares last traded above $18.56 back on May 13, 2010.
DHI – D.R. Horton, Inc. – In contrast to the outright bullish trading observed in XHB LEAPs, homebuilding company, D.R. Horton, received nearer-term bearish bets that shares are set to decline ahead of expiration in January 2011. DHI’s shares rallied as much as 2.6% on the positive new housing starts data to secure an intraday high of $11.34 this morning. But, by midday, a put option feeding frenzy initiated by traders who appear to expect shares to reverse course had already gained momentum. It looks like traders bought roughly 30,000 puts at the January 2011 $10 strike at an average premium of $0.73 a-pop. Put buyers are poised to profit should shares of the underlying stock plummet 18.25% from today’s high of $11.34 to slip beneath the average breakeven point to the downside at $9.27 by January 2011 expiration.
NVDA – NVIDIA Corp. – Shares of the manufacturer of chips used in computer graphics cards jumped 7.1% this afternoon to reach an intraday high of $11.47 as of 2:50 pm ET after analysts with Pacific Crest Securities said NVDA’s shares are likely to rally up to $13.00 as inventory declines and demand stabilizes. Investors hoping to see the bullish momentum continue purchased some 6,150 calls at the October $12 strike for an average premium of $0.32 per contract. Call buyers make money if the price of the underlying stock increases another 8.65% over today’s high of $11.34 to trade above the average breakeven point on the calls…
by Option Review - December 7th, 2009 4:13 pm
Today’s tickers: RIMM, BAC, VZ, CAG, NYB, RMBS, TEVA, DIS & NVDA
RIMM – Research in Motion Limited – Blackberry maker, Research in Motion, revealed a distribution deal with Digital China – a unit of Legend Holdings – aimed at expanding its business in China. Shares stood 2.5% higher to $60.22 thirty minutes before the closing bell. One option investor banked profits on a previously established call position in the January 2010 contract today. It appears the trader originally purchased 25,000 calls at the January 80 strike for 30 cents apiece on December 4, 2009. Today the investor shed all 25,000 lots for 43 cents each. Net profits on the closing sale amount to 13 cents per contract for total gains of $325,000. Option implied volatility on the stock is up slightly on the day to 59.91%.
BAC – Bank of America Corp. – A bearish risk reversal on Bank of America this afternoon suggests one investor expects shares to suffer significant declines by expiration in May 2010. BAC’s shares slipped 2% to $15.98 in late-day trading. It appears the pessimistic player shed 7,500 calls at the May 22 strike for 36 cents apiece in order to partially offset the cost of buying the same number of put options at the lower May 13 strike for 70 cents premium each. The net cost of the transaction amounts to 34 cents per contract. The effective breakeven point on the put options of $12.66 is 20.77% lower than the current price per BAC share. The investor responsible for the reversal could be taking an extremely bearish bet on Bank of America. If this is the case, the investor expects shares to nosedive down to lows experienced at the end of July 2009. Alternatively, the trader could be long the stock, and financing cheap downside protection by selling covered call options. The long puts serve as protection in case the stock tumbles, whereas the short calls suggest the investor is happy to have the underlying stock position called from him at $22.00 each. Shares of BAC would need to rally 38% from the current price in order for the March 22 strike calls to land in-the-money.
VZ – Verizon Communications, Inc. – Option traders displayed mixed near-term sentiment on the communications company this afternoon. Shares edged 2% higher to a new 52-week high of $33.36 with less than one hour remaining in the…
by Option Review - November 6th, 2009 4:53 pm
Today’s tickers: PG, CTXS, LINTA, HIG, CVS, UUP, VIX, AONE, SWKS, CLX, BCSI & NVDA
PG – The Proctor & Gamble Co. – Bullish action on Proctor & Gamble today suggests one investor expects shares to continue to rally ahead of expiration in November. Shares are currently trading 1% higher to $61.13. The trader purchased 10,000 calls at the now in-the-money November 60 strike for 1.39 each, and simultaneously sold 10,000 calls at the higher November 62.5 strike for 26 cents apiece. The net cost of buying the call spread amounts to 1.13 per contract and yields maximum potential profits of 1.37 each if shares rally up to $62.50 by expiration. Shares need only rally another 2.2% from the current price to reach the $62.50-level.
CTXS – Citrix Systems, Inc. – Software developer, Citrix Systems, attracted bullish option traders to the November contract today amid a 1% increase in shares to $38.80. Investors displayed optimistic sentiment on the stock by selling approximately 10,600 puts at the November 35 strike for 10 cents premium apiece. Put-sellers retain the full dime-per-contract as long as shares remain above $35.00 through expiration this month. Shares of CTXS have traded above $36.00 since September 4, 2009.
LINTA – Liberty Media Corp. – Shares of the broadcasting and entertainment company rallied 1% during the trading session to $12.14. Plain-vanilla call buying action on the stock today suggests some investors expect shares to rise significantly by expiration in January 2010. Traders purchased about 11,800 calls at the January 15 strike for an average premium of 25 cents apiece. Call-buyers will accumulate profits if shares surge at least 26% from the current price to surpass the breakeven point at $15.25 by expiration.
HIG – Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. – Medium-term investors placed bearish bets on the insurance and financial services firm today. Shares are currently trading less than 0.25% higher to $24.16 after suffering significant erosion throughout the week. One pessimistic trader initiated a bearish risk reversal in the January 2010 contract. The investor sold 4,500 calls at the January 27 strike for an average premium of 78 cents apiece to partially finance the purchase of the same number of put options at the lower January 21 strike for 1.68 each. The net cost of the transaction is reduced to a more palatable 90 cents per contract, but does leave the investor exposed in the event of…
by Option Review - June 30th, 2009 4:03 pm
Today’s tickers: ELN, NOK, WYE, ELX, GERN, VALE, NVDA & EXC
ELN – The neuroscience-based biotechnology company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, jumped onto our ‘most active by options volume’ market scanner after a massive bearish reversal was initiated on the stock. Shares are currently lower by more than 5% to $6.59. It looks as though one trader sold 30,500 calls at the January 2010 10 strike price for 50 cents apiece in order to finance the purchase of 30,500 puts at the January 5.0 strike for 74 cents per contract. The net cost of getting long the protective put options amounts to 24 cents. We note that the existing open interest present at both strike prices exceeds the volume traded today. But, it does not appear that this trade represents an attempt to close a previously established position. – Elan Corporation PLC
NOK– The manufacturer of mobile devices has experienced a share price decline of more than 3% to stand at $14.55. We observed a number of bearish trades by investors active on the stock today amid a rating initiated as ‘underperform’ by analysts at BMO Capital Markets. Traders appear to be bracing for significant declines in the price of the underlying as the October 11 strike price saw more than 11,000 put options purchased for 32 cents apiece. Shares would need to plummet 27% from today’s price before profits begin to amass for put-holders at the breakeven point of $10.68. Additional evidence of bearish sentiment was seen at the January 2010 20 strike price where 5,400 calls were shed for 39 cents per contract. – Nokia Corporation
WYE– A sudden frenzy of bullish call activity on the pharmaceutical company was picked up by our scanners this afternoon amid a slight 0.5% decline in shares to $45.12. It appears that the investor or investors responsible for the call action expect Wyeth’s shares to move higher. Perhaps such sentiment stems from speculation regarding the proposed Pfizer-Wyeth merger, which will be put to a shareholder vote at Wyeth on July 20, 2009. In the nearer-term August contract, it looks as though a long call position was rolled to a higher strike price resulting in fresh buying of some 5,000 calls at the August 50 strike price for 15 cents apiece. The calls appear to have been rolled from the existing open interest at the lower August 45 strike where 5,000 lots look…
by Option Review - June 12th, 2009 4:26 pm
Today’s tickers: CAL, POT, EEM, RMBS, NVDA & FXI
CAL – Shares of the U.S. air carrier are lower by approximately 1% today to $9.19 amid total declines of 12% on the stock since the opening bell on Monday morning. One option trader was observed make a bullish play on CAL, hoping to see clearer skies in the airline’s future. The investor established a long butterfly spread in the September contract by selling 10,000 calls at the September 12.5 strike price [body] for a premium of 65 cents. The body of the spread was combined with the purchase of 5,000 calls at the September 10 strike for 1.40 apiece [wing 1] as well as the purchase of 5,000 calls at the September 14 strike price for 37 cents per contract [wing 2]. The transaction cost the trader a net 47 cents (1*1.40 [wing 1] + 1*0.37 [wing 2] – 2*0.65 [body] = 0.47). Maximum potential profits of 2.03 will be realized by this individual if shares of CAL can rally 36% to $12.50 by expiration. A long butterfly spread was an excellent choice by the bullish investor responsible for the trade. The application of the spread effectively lowered the breakeven point to $10.47 instead of the breakeven point of $13.15 which would have resulted from pure bullish call buying at the central 12.5 strike price. – Continental Airlines, Inc.
POT – The feed products company has experienced a share price decline of 2.5% to $114.90. Taking advantage of the price erosion was one investor who sold a chunk of put options in the July contract. This individual was observed selling approximately 15,000 puts at the July 80 strike price for an average premium of 65 cents apiece. The aggregate premium enjoyed on the trade amounts to $975,000. He will retain the full premium assuming the price of POT remains higher than $80.00 by expiration next month. Inherent in the short sale is the obligation of the writer to have shares put to him at expiration if indeed shares plummet more than $34.00 or 30% in the next month. – Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Inc.
EEM– It appears that an option investor was drawn into looking for downside protection in emerging markets today judging by the sizeable September expiration strategy seen in this morning’s trade. Shares are currently trading at $33.71 for a 1.5% loss today. Meanwhile this…