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…
Yesterday morning, when musing on the day's key event namely Yellen's congressional testimony, we dismissed the most recent bout of European bank euphoria which we said "will be brief if not validated by concrete actions, because while central banks have the luxury of jawboning, commercial banks are actually burning through funds - rapidly at that - and don't have the luxury of hoping for the best while doing nothing." This morning DB has wiped out all of yesterday's gain.
As for Yellen's testimony, we said that "she can send stocks reeling with one word out of place" ...
“One day it started raining, and it didn’t quit for four months” ~ Forrest Gump
What’s especially frustrating right now, besides the fact that the S&P 500 is now in a 13.2% drawdown, is that we’re not seeing any sense of panic. While every bounce attempt is getting smaller in both size and duration, the market has yet to do the proverbial flush that we all seam to be waiting for. The “all clear” moment, if you will.
The last time stocks were selling off like this was the summer of 2011 when the S&P 500 fell 21.58% pea...
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Throughout the past 30 days of wild volatility, here’s what I didn’t do.
Panic. Worry. Sell.
In fact, the best I did was add to a couple of positions yesterday. The world was already in an uncertain state for the past 3+ years. It’s just that with the market rising, we pushed the issue to the back of our mind and ignored it.
A number of systemic, structural forces are intersecting in 2016. One is the rise of non-state, non-central-bank-issued crypto-currencies.
We all know money is created and distributed by governments and central banks. The reason is simple: control the money and you control everything.
The invention of the blockchain and crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin have opened the door to non-state, non-central-bank currencies--money that is global and independent of any state or central bank, or indeed, any bank, as crypto-currencies are structurally peer-to-peer, meaning they don't require a bank to function: people can exchange crypto-currencies to pay for goods and services without a bank acting as a clearinghouse for all these transactions.
Last year, the S&P 500 large caps closed 2015 essentially flat on a total return basis, while the NASDAQ 100 showed a little better performance at +8.3% and the Russell 2000 small caps fell -5.9%. Overall, stocks disappointed even in the face of modest expectations, especially the small caps as market leadership was mostly limited to a handful of large and mega-cap darlings.
Notably, the full year chart for the S&P 500 looks very much like 2011. It got off to a good start, drifted sideways for...
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Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
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 email@example.com 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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