SVU - SUPERVALU Inc. – The sale of a massive block of 25,000 call options on the supermarket operator this morning may mean one strategist has little appetite for a significant Supervalu rally, at least through September expiration day. No telling if the two are related, but the sale of the call options occurred roughly one hour before the company’s CFO was scheduled to present to investors at the Goldman Sachs 18th Annual Global Retailing Conference in New York City. SVU’s shares rallied at the open, increasing 2.5% to an intraday high of $7.84, but surrendered much of those gains to stand 0.65% higher on the session at $7.70 as of 12:25 pm ET. The investor responsible for the hefty transaction may or may not be long the stock. It looks like the trader sold 25,000 calls outright at the September $8.0 strike for a premium of $0.20 per contract. The premium remains in the investor’s wallet as long as Supervalu’s shares trade below $8.00 and the calls expire worthless at expiration next week. Potentially devastating losses could result for the trader if the short calls are uncovered, and the price of the underlying stock spikes higher ahead of expiration. Premium received on the sale of the calls provides limited protection in the event of an SVU rally, but the insurance policy gives way to losses if SVU’s shares exceed the effective breakeven price of $8.20 at September expiration day. If the investor is long the stock, it seems he is happy to pad his portfolio with premium today, and willing to have shares called from him at $8.00 should the calls land in-the-money next Friday.
OMX - OfficeMax Inc. – Shares in the office supplies retailer rallied 6.3% this morning to $5.59 despite third-quarter sales estimates that trail those recorded in the same period last year, CEO Ravi Saligram’s comments that OfficeMax is, “experiencing a soft Back-to-School season,” and tough macroeconomic conditions to boot. Saligram spoke today at the…
EQIX - Equinix, Inc. – In the final trading week of 2010 we reported seeing one options strategist purchase a sizable bullish call butterfly spread on Equinix. It has been nearly four months to the day since the investor paid a net premium of $3.10 per contract for the June $85/$100/$115 call ‘fly, and it looks like the trader is reeling in substantial profits today by unraveling the position. Shares in the provider of global data center services are currently up 3.8% to stand at $100.30 as of 11:20am in New York. The company reported first-quarter earnings of $0.53 a share on Wednesday, which beat average analyst expectations of $0.30 a share in net income for the quarter. The trader responsible for the bullish spread nearly hit the nail on the head. On December 29, 2010, shares in Equinox closed the session at $81.20. Since then, the stock has climbed roughly 23.5% to today’s price. While the upward move in the price of the underlying happened a bit more quickly than estimated, the trader’s predictions for the magnitude of the move were pretty much spot on. It appears the investor closed out the spread this morning, selling 15,000 calls at the now deep in-the-money June $85 strike for a hefty premium of $16.20 each, bought back the 30,000 short calls at the June $100 strike for a premium of $4.70 each, and sold 15,000 of the June $115 strike call options at a premium of $0.30 a-pop. The trader takes in net premium of $7.10 per contract by closing out the spread, and therefore realizes net profits of $4.00 per contract, or around $6 million in total, after accounting for the initial cost of buying the spread at $3.10 apiece. Had Equinix’s shares risen more slowly, hitting $100.00 at expiration in June, the investor could have realized maximum potential profits of $11.90 per contract. But, in the end the investor’s predictions for EQIX’s performance and the…
AAPL – Apple, Inc. – Bulls sank their teeth into Apple call options today in order to position for continued appreciation in the price of the underlying through August expiration. The iPhone maker’s shares increased as much as 2.10% during the trading session to secure an intraday high of $275.97 perhaps on news the firm sold 3 million iPads in the first 80 days since the product was introduced to the U.S. marketplace. Apple optimists expecting shares to surpass yesterday’s new 52-week high of $279.01 purchased 1,100 calls at the August $280 strike for a hefty premium of $14.64 apiece. Investors long the calls are positioned to profit if Apple’s shares rally 6.75% over today’s intraday high of $275.97 to trade above the average breakeven point at $294.64 by August expiration. Bulls anticipating more significant share price gains by August expiration purchased approximately 2,500 calls at the higher August $290 strike for an average premium of $9.70 each. Investors long the August $290 strike contracts make money if the iPod maker’s shares surge 8.6% to exceed the average breakeven price of $299.70 by expiration day. Finally, uber-bulls bought 2,000 calls at the higher August $300 strike for an average premium of $7.38 a-pop. Traders holding the August $300 strike calls stand ready to accumulate profits as long as Apple’s shares jump 11.4% to trade above the average breakeven point on the calls at $307.38 by expiration day in August. Nearly 200,000 option contracts changed hands on Apple, Inc. by 3:00 pm (ET), with call options trading 1.35 times to each single put option in play.
APC – Anadarko Petroleum Corp. – Shares of the independent oil and gas exploration and production company which holds a 25% stake in BP’s leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico dropped 4.35% late in the session to stand at $41.56 as of 3:15 pm (ET). Despite the decline in the price of the underlying today one optimistic option strategist positioned himself to one day bask in the light at the end of the tunnel by enacting a bullish debit call spread in the November contract. APC’s shares plunged 53.4% from a high of $74.14 on April 20 – the day the leak was triggered – down to a 52-week low of $34.54 on June 9, 2010. Since bottoming out on…
HAL – Halliburton Co. – Making sense of options activity on oil company, Halliburton Co., this afternoon is difficult due to the chaotic and seemingly pattern-less trading taking place on the stock. Investors exchanged more than 200,000 contracts on HAL by 3:00 pm (ET), which represents approximately 37% of total existing open interest on the stock of 541,062 contracts. Frenzied options trading was catalyzed by news the firm is assisting in ongoing investigations regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as HAL reportedly provided a variety of oilfield services to Deepwater Horizon rig, which is the rig that caught fire and sank last week. Options volume and options implied volatility on Halliburton jumped while its shares slipped 6.3% to $31.26. The surge in demand for option contracts on the stock, coupled with uncertainty regarding possible repercussions stemming from HAL’s connection to the situation in the Gulf of Mexico, lifted the overall reading of options implied volatility 25.4% to 44.13% as of 3:25 pm (ET). Trading activity is heaviest in the May contract with decent volume building in both call and put options. Some bearish investors bracing for continued share price erosion purchased about 2,200 puts at the lowest available strike – the May $25 strike price – for an average premium of $0.16 apiece. Buying interest in put options was also apparent at the May $26 strike where 1,800 puts were picked up for an average premium of $0.20 each. May $29 strike puts were the most heavily trafficked as more than 16,700 contracts changed hands by 3:22 pm (ET), versus previously existing open interest of just 2,743 contracts at that strike. But, the put action was certainly not one-sided as investors took to buying and selling the contracts, with buyers gaining the right to sell the stock at $29.00, and sellers receiving an average premium of $0.81 per contract in exchange for bearing the risk of having shares of the underlying stock put to them at $29.00. Similar two-way trading traffic in calls took place at out-of-the-money strike prices as some traders threw in the towel on bullish stances expiring in May. Meanwhile, contrarian players purchased out-of-the-money calls, perhaps to prepare for a potential rebound in the price per share ahead of expiration next month.
IPG – Interpublic Group of Cos., Inc. – Advertising and…
The big economic number this week will be the Q4 Advance Estimate for GDP on Friday at 8:30 AM EST. For some perspective on quarterly GDP so far this year, Q1 was negative at -2.1%, followed by a strong rebound to 4.6% in Q2 and a drift higher in Q3 to 5.0%. The standard explanation for the Q1 contraction is the economic impact of an unseasonably cold winter.
What do economists see in their collective crystal ball for Q4 of 2014? Let's take a look at the GDP forecasts from the latest Wall Street Journal survey of economists conducted earlier this month.
Here's a snapshot of the full array of WSJ opinions about Q4 GDP. I've highlighted the values for the median (middle), mean (average) and mode (most frequent). In the latest forecast, the median and mean were an identical to one decimal place at 3.0%. The mode (seven of 65 forecasts) was a tad high...
Ten days ago, before the smashing success of Greece's anti-austerity party, Syriza, we noted that Russia gave Greece a modest proposal: turn your back on Europe, whom you despise so much anyway, and we will assist your farmers by lifting the food import ban.
And, sure enough, Greece's new premier Tsipras did hint with his initial actions that Greece may indeed pivot quite aggressively away from Europe and toward Russia in general and the Eurasian Economic Union in particular (as a tangent recall "...
Dan writes ... I was a soldier in the US Army for 23 years including four years in Special forces Stationed in Germany. I would agree that there is a strong likelihood that this is a US Special Forces soldier.
I can tell you that we were issued AK 74s and would use them on a mission such as this. That is about all I would really want to say at this point.
It is obvious to me that our strategy is the Balkanization of the various hot spots in the world, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and so forth.
While other commodity prices have further softened recently, Gold rallied – rising from December low of $1,174/oz. to touch $1,300/oz. Joel Crane, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, expressed pessimism that...
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Last week, the S&P 500 put an end to its streak of weekly losses, despite giving back some gains on Friday. Thursday provided the big catalyst, with the ECB’s announcement of its bold new monetary stimulus plan. Investors were cheered and soothed for the moment. And U.S. fundamentals still look strong. But with Greece trying to turn back time, with volatility elevated (and likely to continue as such), and with the technical situation still dicey, the near term outlook is still worrisome.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart...
An interview with John Ehlers of Stock Spotter and Mesa Software
Ilene: John, in our last discussion about trading systems in general and yours in particular (Can trading be reduced to cycles, stresses and vibrations?) you mentioned Monte Carlo simulations and their use in measuring performance. Can you explain more about how you measure the performance of a trading system?
John: Let's start with comparing trading with gambling. The two have several things in common. In both ...
So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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