by Option Review - March 25th, 2013 2:35 pm
Today’s tickers: APOL, DELL & ORCL
by Option Review - November 27th, 2012 12:56 pm
Today’s tickers: RAH, SYMC & ORCL
RAH - Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. – Shares in the St. Louis, Missouri-based producer of private-brand food products increased more than 25% this morning after packaged food products maker, ConAgra Foods, Inc., agreed to buy Ralcorp for $90.00 a share. Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. shares are currently up 26.3% on the session at $88.71, trading below the deal price announced ahead of the opening bell this morning. Relatively small increases in call open interest following Monday’s trading session indicates one or more strategists who established bullish positions on Ralcorp yesterday are enjoying massive paper profits on those positions today. A review of time and sales data for the Nov. $70 and $80 strike calls reveals 50 calls were purchased at each strike yesterday at premiums of $1.80 and $0.55 apiece, respectively. Double-digit percentage gains in the price of the underlying on news of the ConAgra deal now finds the value of these deep in-the-money call options up big, with last-traded prices of $18.70 and $8.70 each, respectively.
SYMC - Symantec Corp. – Upside call buying on the security, storage and systems software and services provider this morning suggests one or more options traders are preparing for shares in Symantec Corp. to potentially rally to fresh multi-year highs during the next eight weeks. The stock today trades 0.50% higher on the session at $18.39 as of 11:45 a.m. in New York. Symantec’s shares have increased roughly 40% since the end of July when the stock slumped to a two-year low of $13.06. The most actively traded options on SYMC this morning are the Jan. 2013 $21 strike calls, which changed upwards of 6,000 times against open interest of 2,162 contracts. Most of the volume appears to have been purchased for an average premium of $0.14 apiece within the first 10 minutes of the opening bell today. Call buyers stand ready to profit at expiration next year should shares in Symantec rally 15% over the current…
by Option Review - July 2nd, 2012 2:38 pm
Today’s tickers: FBHS, ORCL & WM
FBHS - Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc. – Shares in the home and security products company that was spun off from Fortune Brands in 2011 are up 4.5% this morning at $23.27. Call options on the company, which sells products under well-known brands including, Master Lock and Moen, among others, are more active than usual today. Trading traffic in the August expiry calls suggests one or more investors may be positioning for the price of the underlying to rally to the highest level since the spin off. Upwards of 1,000 calls changed hands at the Aug. $25 strike versus previously existing open interest of 105 contracts. It looks like most of the calls were purchased for a premium of $0.40 apiece. Call buyers may profit at expiration next month should shares in FBHS rally another 9.2% to surpass the breakeven price of $25.40. Fortune Brands Home & Security is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings after the close of trading on July 25th.
ORCL - Oracle Corp. – A large bearish spread initiated in Oracle Corp. options this morning sees shares in the name potentially pulling back more than 20.0% from the current level during the second half of the year. Shares in Oracle are down 0.75% as of midday to stand at $29.47, returning some Friday’s more than 5.0% rally in the stock. It looks like one strategist initiated a 9,000-lot Dec. $23/$28 put spread, the largest blocks printing 7,622 contracts in the first 30 minutes of the trading week, for a net premium outlay of $1.08 apiece. Profits kick in on the position should shares in Oracle Corp. decline 8.7% to breach the breakeven price of $26.92, while maximum possible profits of $3.92 per contract are available should the stock drop 22.0% to $23.00 by December expiration. The put spread is the largest trade in Oracle options so far today. The transaction could be a hedge to…
by Option Review - June 15th, 2012 3:01 pm
Options brief will resume June 25, 2012.
Today’s tickers: ORCL, LLY & NIHD
ORCL - Oracle Corp. – Shares in software giant, Oracle Corp., are up 2.3% this afternoon at $27.53 amid a broad-based rally in equities and after the stock was raised to ‘Buy’ from ‘Hold’ with a 12-month share price target of $33.00 at ThinkEquity LLC. Stocks are trading higher on speculation global central banks may take coordinated action to counter possible market shocks in the wake of Greek elections this weekend. The software maker’s shares may be on the rise today, but a sizable put spread initiated in the September expiry this morning suggests one strategist is keeping an eye on potential bearish movement in the price of the underlying. It looks like the trader snapped up 4,230 puts at the Sept. $26 strike and sold the same number of puts at the lower Sept. $23 strike, all for a net premium outlay of $0.72 per contract. The trader makes money on the spread if shares in ORCL slip 8.2% to breach the breakeven price of $25.28, while maximum potential profits of $2.28 per contract are available in the event shares plunge 16.5% to settle below $23.00 at September expiration. Oracle is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings after the final bell next Thursday.
LLY - Eli Lilly and Co. – The drug maker’s shares rallied to their highest level since October 2008 today, trading up as much as 0.90% to $42.17. Trading traffic in Eli Lilly options is fairly evenly distributed between calls and puts, however, the single largest transaction in the contracts today appears to be a protective or potentially an outright bearish stance on the near-term performance of the stock. Volume at any one strike today is heaviest in the July $40 put where more…
by Option Review - December 21st, 2011 1:40 pm
Today’s tickers: ORCL, INFA, LEN & JAG
ORCL - Oracle Corp. – It’s clear from the 14.6% drop in Oracle’s shares to $24.91 today that investors are disappointed with what the Company had to show for its efforts in the prior quarter. The second-largest software maker yesterday posted fiscal second-quarter profits of $0.54 a share on revenue of $8.81 billion, missing average analyst expectations of $0.57 a share on sales of $9.23 billion. Put buying in the weekly options suggest some traders expect the stock to extend losses ahead of the holiday. Overall options volume on Oracle Corp. has surpassed 205,000 contracts just before 1:00 PM ET as strategists looked to initiate a variety of post-earnings stances, from bearish trades looking for more pain on the horizon, to more optimistic positions that point to potential recovery in the name. Though the report may represent a surprise to the downside for many, it looks like one options player may have read the tea leaves accurately ahead of the earnings release. The strategist appears to have sold around 16,500 long-dated Jan. 2013 $35 strike calls on Oracle back on November 22 for a premium of $2.62 apiece when shares in the software giant were trading around $29.00. The purchase of a large number of call options at the Jan. 2013 $35 strike today may mean the investor is taking profits off the table. It appears approximately 16,500 calls were purchased in the first 20 minutes of the session this morning for an average premium of $1.04 each. If the original seller of the contracts did indeed buy to close the short stance in call options today, he or she has exited the bearish position with net profits of around $1.58 per contract.
INFA - Informatica Corp. – Oracle’s big quarterly earnings miss dragged down the tech sector…
by Option Review - November 17th, 2011 1:40 pm
Today’s tickers: ORCL, CTCT, PLCE & KO
ORCL - Oracle Corp. – U.S. stocks are accelerating to the downside this afternoon as concerns over Europe once again sour a market that had welcomed better-than-expected economic data this morning. The sea of red includes Oracle Corp., which currently trades 3.45% lower on the day at $30.89, just before 1:00 PM in New York. The pullback in the software maker’s shares today has not deterred one optimistic trader from taking a bullish stance on the stock out in the March 2012 expiry. The investor appears to have purchased 10,000 calls outright at the Mar. 2012 $36 strike for a premium of $0.92 each. Profits are available to the trader at expiration next year in the event that Oracle’s shares jump nearly 20.0% to surpass the effective breakeven price of $36.92. Shares in Oracle hit $36.50 on May 3 of this year, their highest since 2000, but have not topped $36.92 in at least a decade. Options implied volatility on the stock is up 15.5% to stand at 41.3% this afternoon.
CTCT - Constant Contact, Inc. – Fresh prints in Constant Contact call options suggests at least one strategist expects shares in the provider of email marketing and online survey solutions to rally over the next few months. Shares in CTCT fell 3.6% in the first half of the session to stand at $22.55 just before 11:40 AM ET. It looks like more than 1,300 in-the-money calls changed hands at the Mar. $22.5 strike against previously existing open interest of 65 contracts. Call volume is hefty relative to open interest at that strike and in comparison to overall open interest on the stock of 4,157 positions. One investor appears to have purchased nearly all of the ITM calls this morning for an average premium of $2.80 apiece. The trader stands prepared to profit should shares in Constant Contact rally 12.2% over the current price of $22.55 to surpass the average breakeven point at $25.30 at March expiration. The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings on February 2, 2012, well in advance of the March 16, 2012, expiration date on the calls.
PLCE - Children’s Place Retail Stores, Inc. – Shares in the specialty retailer of children’s apparel and accessories are up big today, rallying as much as 17.1% to an intraday high of $52.70, after the company posted better-than-expected third-quarter earnings of $1.33 a share and…
by phil - September 21st, 2011 8:28 am
Strap in folks, it’s going to be another wild ride!
As you can see from Doug Short’s S&P chart,we are about to slam right into that collapsing 50-day moving average, now at 1,223.40 – right about where the S&P topped out on yesterday’s morning spike. Unfortunately, the Nasdaq topped out and headed down before the other indexes got a chance to complete their up cycle and the Dollar rose back over the 77.50 line and tanked the market – exactly as we predicted it would at the bottom of yesterday morning’s post.
Of course, I can’t MAKE these things happen – I can only tell you what’s going to happen and give you trade ideas to help you profit from it. I mentioned that we had picked up 10 DIA 9/30 $115.75 calls in our virtual $25,000 Portfolio at $1.05 on Monday and they topped out at $1.75 (up 66%) but we took a non-greedy exit at $1.45 in the morning spike (up 33%) and we switched to 20 QQQ 9/30 $57 calls at .45 in the afternoon sell-off. So, we made $350 off a $1,050 investment and then we spend $900 but now we have 20 contracts instead of 10 but we also have $450 in cash so now risking just $600 of our original investment on the much more volatile Fed day.
Another trade idea we like ahead of the Fed that’s still playable is 20 FAS weekly $13/14 bull call spreads at .38 ($760), selling 10 JPM Oct $28 put for .55 ($550) for net $210 invested on the 20 $1 spreads. The worst-case on this spread is owning JPM for net $28.10, which is 13% off the current price and the best case is a $1,790 profit (852%) in a week. That sounds like a lot but options let you do funny things like at 11:30 in Member Chat, we saw PCLN making new highs against news that we thought was not actually that good for them on closer examination. Our trade idea to take advantage of that was:
If you want to play PCLN bearish – it’s very risky but the weekly $565/555 bear put spread is $6 and you can sell the $565 calls for $4.70 for net $1.30 on the $10 spread. Oct $620s are $4.10 so your bet is
by phil - April 15th, 2011 8:19 am
Well who’d have thunk it?
The cost of doing business is rising and GOOG happens to be one of those businesses that lacks pricing power as their rates are generally set through an auction process and their users have to VOLUNTEER to pay more money to advertise. Most advertisers on Google are on fixed budgets, like MSM advertisers and Google has done a great job of replicating that model. Why then, should it be surprising if a maturing Google begins to look more like a traditional media outlet than a dot com company with exploding growth?
Don’t get me wrong, we love Google long-term but we did short them as well as BIDU into Google earnings as we felt Google would disappoint enough to spook BIDU investors as well. We’re taking the short money and running and looking for some bullish plays now – the drop from $630 last month to $545 today is plenty of froth blown off the top for us to get long-term interested again. As you can see from the tag cloud of the Conference Call, growth is still there, especially in mobile display ads (Android a bit disappointing) and no major negatives. I’m not going to write a whole thing about GOOG though, there are thousands of people doing that and our Members know well enough where I stand. I’m more interested in examining the bigger picture.
We expected Q1 earnings to be rough and we’ve already seen FDX, NKE, ORCL, RIMM, FAST, FCS and AA struggle so hopefully you don’t have to be hit on the head with another whole week of earnings before you get a little more cautious. Next week we hear from C, HAL, LLY, TXN, BK, GS, INTC, IBM, SYK, USB, VMW and YHOO on Monday and Tuesday and then we’re off to the races with hundreds of companies reporting each week for the rest of the month. Our job in the first few weeks of earnings season is to get a feel for the quarter and, so far, that feeling is rough.
It’s all about inflation, of course and don’t say we didn’t warn you about that one! We went more bearish up at those 100% lines we’ve been watching and now the question really is – how bad was it? Inflation is, after all, our long-term BULLISH premise. We don’t think corporations…
by phil - April 5th, 2011 8:18 am
The Nasdaq is finally rebalancing!
That is good news but not so much for Apple, Inc., whose current 20.49% weighting in the index will be cut to 12.33% on May 2nd. This explains a lot of the strange movement in the Nasdaq as apparently the cognescenti have already begun jockying their positions – trying to guess which of the 100 stocks in the Composite Index will curry some of AAPL’s lost favor.
Perhaps the the moves up in fellow 4-letter stocks like PCLN ($25Bn market cap), NFLX ($13Bn), OPEN ($2.5Bn), BIDU ($50Bn) and GMCR ($9.4Bn) don’t seem quite so crazy in light of the 40% reduction in AAPL ($314Bn) – take the money out of one bucket and you HAVE to fill up the others!
This does make me feel better as there may actually be a rational reason for NFLX having a p/e of 82 despite the fact that they have a completely indefensible service that already has competition from several on-line clones as well as big boys like AMZN, not to mention every cable and satellite company in America. Why does WFMI, a GROCERY STORE, trade at 41 times it’s projected 2011 earnings in the middle of the worst food inflation in US history? It’s not just because rich people are stupid and will overpay for anything because they hate to have people think they can’t afford stuff – it’s because their market cap is $11.4Bn and if you take 40% of AAPL’s $300Bn and distribute it around the Nasdaq – then WFMI get’s $1.2Bn of additional allocation.
That’s not exactly how it works but that’s the effect. A $1Bn Index fund who follows the Nasdaq has $205M of AAPL stock (20.49%) and, after the reweighing, they are to have $123M of AAPL stock. The other $82M does, in fact, get distributed to the other Nasdaq stocks according to the new weightings. Do you think that doesn’t distort the markets? Of course, that doesn’t "just" affect the Nasdaq – AAPL is a heavyweight in all the indexes.
The special rebalancing of the NASDAQ-100 Index will be enacted based on index securities and shares outstanding as of March 31 – now it is very clear why the MoMo stocks were jacked up like crazy into the end of Q1 – now the market manipulators have guaranteed bagholders for their stocks come May 2nd! On…
by phil - September 17th, 2010 7:56 am
Our zombie GSE’s have now become the Nation’s biggest home sellers.
This could not come at a worse time as winter is always a poor time to sell homes, rates seem to have bottomed and there is no new stimulus (or new jobs, or immigration, or population growth) to spur demand. Yet, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae now own more than 191,000 homes (as of June 30th), which is double where they were last year and they are still taking back homes faster than they can sell them as we move into the peak (we hope!) of the foreclosure cycle.
Once they take homes back, Fannie and Freddie must not only cover the utility bills and property taxes, but they are also relying on thousands of real-estate agents and contractors to rehabilitate homes, mow lawns and clean pools. Fannie took a $13 billion charge during the second quarter just on carrying costs for its properties.
If demand remains weak, Fannie and Freddie could face pressure to take more aggressive steps to hold homes off the market. Fannie, for example, is testing an effort in Chicago where it will rent vacant foreclosures rather than list them for sale. Such a "lease-and-hold" approach could make sense in certain markets where "you believe the supply will take a long time to absorb, but there’s going to be an increase in employment going forward," says Douglas Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae.
In yesterday’s post, we discussed the death of the housing market and that brought about a discussion in Member Chat about my February article where I pointed out that the math of home ownership no longer works for many Americans (I also showed 3 different ways you can shave $100,000 in payments off a $200,000 home loan so I do suggest reading it if you haven’t already). Mark McHugh of The Daily Bail has a nice update today where he does the math and contends that "a look behind the numbers shows home ownership to be a poor investment." Barry Rhitholtz found a chart from Reality Bubble Monitor that matches with my contention yesterday (that the US has likely bottomed) but points out that our "boom" economies in Australia and Canada (and China is about the same) have bubbles that are still likely to pop: