by Option Review - April 19th, 2013 3:02 pm
Today’s tickers: OSTK, COF & OSIS
by Option Review - October 26th, 2012 2:23 pm
Today’s tickers: OSTK, HMSY & NTRI
OSTK - Overstock.com, Inc. – Options on online retailer, Overstock.com, Inc., are more active than usual this morning as shares in the retailer of closeout and discount merchandise rally sharply for a second straight day. Shares in Overstock.com rallied as much as 40% since Thursday morning when the company reported it swung to a third-quarter profit of $0.11 a share from a loss of $0.33 a share in the year ago quarter. The stock is off its highs of the session, but currently trades up 5.85% as of midday on Friday to stand at $14.30. Options traders positioning for shares in Overstock.com to extend gains in the near term snapped up front month calls this morning. Volume is heaviest at the Nov. $15 strike, where upwards of 700 call options are in play versus previously existing open interest of 10 contracts. Most of the volume appears to have been purchased for an average premium of $0.36 apiece, thus preparing buyers to profit should shares in OSTK tack on another 7% in the next three weeks to settle above an average breakeven price of $15.36 at November expiration. Shares are currently trading at their highest level since July 2011.
HMSY - HMS Holdings Corp. – Shares in the provider of cost management services for government-sponsored health and human services programs are getting hammered today, plunging 27% earlier in the session to a four-year low of $19.66. The stock dropped after HMS Holdings Corp. posted weaker-than-expected third-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell and lowered its 2012 earnings and revenue forecast from prior estimates. Interestingly, options activity on HMSY suggests one or more options traders are taking a near-term contrarian view on the stock, positioning for the price of the underlying to rebound somewhat by November expiration. It looks like traders purchased 2,000 calls at the Nov. $22.5 strike for an average premium of $0.50 apiece. These contracts may be profitable…
by Option Review - December 16th, 2010 4:33 pm
Today’s tickers: CVC, OSTK, AKS, SLB, MON, NDAQ & WGO
CVC - Cablevision Systems Corp. – A short strangle implemented on the cable operator during afternoon trading indicates one strategist expects shares in Cablevision Systems Corp. to remain range-bound through June 2011 expiration. Cablevision’s shares rose earlier in the day, but are down 0.35% to arrive at $34.57 as of 3:40pm in New York. It appears the strangle-player sold 20,000 calls at the June 2011 $38 strike at a premium of $1.25 each, and sold the same number of puts at the lower June 2011 $29 strike for a premium of $0.85 apiece. Gross premium pocketed by the investor amounts to $2.10 per contract. The trader keeps the full amount of premium received on the transaction as long as shares in CVC trade within the confines of the strike prices described through expiration day next year. Short stances taken in both call and put options expose the trader to losses in the event that CVC’s shares soar 16.0% higher to trade above the upper breakeven point at $40.10, or should shares plunge 22.2% lower to breach the lower breakeven price of $26.90 ahead of June expiration.
OSTK - Overstock.com, Inc. – The online retailer’s shares are up more than 4.4% in the final minutes of the trading session to stand at $17.22. Overstock.com made its way onto our scanners late in the trading day due to bullish activity in the front month. Investors expecting shares to continue to rally ahead of expiration day tomorrow purchased more than 1,500 calls at the December $17.5 strike for an average premium of $0.23 each. Call buyers profit if OSTK’s shares rally another 3.0% to surpass the average breakeven price of $17.73 by expiration. Options implied volatility on Overstock.com is up 12.5% at 54.96% as of 3:45pm.…
Does Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne Know When to Shut Up, Especially While the SEC Investigates his Company?
by ilene - October 16th, 2010 12:26 pm
Does Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne Know When to Shut Up, Especially While the SEC Investigates his Company?
Courtesy of Sam Antar
During an ongoing SEC investigation into financial reporting violations by a public company, competent lawyers will advise management that the wisest course of action is to simply shut up. Not so, with Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) CEO Patrick Byrne. He does not know when to stop blabbing away, misleading investors, and lying to the media – even during an ongoing SEC investigation of his antics.
For example, in 2009, I correctly reported in my blog that Overstock.com violated Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in accounting for its recoveries of certain offsetting costs and reimbursements amounts due to the company from its fulfillment partners (suppliers) who were under-billed in previous reporting periods, from Q1 2007 to Q 2 2008. Overstock.com should have restated its financial reports to recognize income when those offsetting costs and reimbursements were actually earned by the company in those previous reporting periods.
Instead, the company improperly recognized income as those amounts were collected in future accounting periods (Q4 2008 to Q3 2009) on a non-GAAP cash basis. In one instance, Overstock.com improperly reported Q4 2008 profits, even though the company should have reported a loss under accounting rules.
Despite many emails from me, Patrick Byrne stubbornly refused to correct his company’s GAAP violations and even fired Grant Thornton as its auditor for agreeing with my recommendations. Instead, Byrne opened up his big mouth and attacked me on a stock market chat board and during various earnings calls in an effort to discredit me. Byrne even hired internet stalker Judd Bagley to interfere with my divorce and pretext my children and relatives after I pointed out the company’s accounting violations.
|Patrick Byrne while intoxicated|
The company’s pretexting operation also targeted dozens of other journalists, bloggers, critics, and their minor children, too. Big Picture (over 140,000 subscribers) blogger Barry Rithholtz called Judd Bagley a "possible pedarast." His family was spied on, too.
Eventually, the SEC started investigating Overstock.com and the company was forced to restate its financial reports. Patrick Byrne will have a difficult time explaining to SEC investigators why they should not find that Overstock.com’s GAAP violations were a deliberate scheme to manipulate earnings. At…
by ilene - September 12th, 2010 4:57 pm
Sam Antar makes a request to CFOs, Audit Committees, and auditors of public companies’ financial reports: study the SEC’s rules governing the calculation of non-GAAP measures such as EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), and follow them. Correct the mistakes before the reports get filed so Sam doesn’t have to write an article and I don’t have to post it.
For example, Penn National Gaming (PENN) erroneously reported EBITDA as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization AND charges for stock compensation, impairment losses, disposal of assets, losses from unconsolidated affiliates and the Empress Casino Hotel fire--that would be an "Adjusted EBITDA" or in PENN’s case, EBITDASCILDALUAECHFIRE.
Courtesy of Sam Antar
It’s pathetic that so many public companies miscalculate EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) and violate Regulation G governing the calculation of non-GAAP measures such as EBITDA. It seems that too many CFOs, Audit Committees, and auditors don’t take the time to thoroughly review compliance with all appropriate SEC financial reporting rules.
Starting in 2007, I reported improper EBITDA calculations by Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK). After a brutal yearlong public battle, Overstock.com’s embittered CEO Patrick Byrne finally changed his company’s EBITDA calculation to comply with Regulation G. For additional details, please read Lee Webb’s Stockwatch article and Richard Sauer’s book.
Last July, I reported apparently erroneous EBITDA calculations by Penson Worldwide (NASDAQ: PNSN) and Comtech Telecommunications (NASDAQ: CMTL).
In this blog post, I will report erroneous EBITDA calculations by five more public companies: A. H. Belo Corporation (NYSE: AHC), FirstService Corporation (NASDAQ: FSRV), Animal Health International, Inc. (NASDAQ: AHII), Schawk Inc. (NYSE: SGK), and Penn National Gaming Inc. (NASDAQ: PENN).
First, let’s review how EBITDA supposed to be calculated
According to the SEC Compliance & Disclosure Interpretations, EBITDA is defined as under Regulation G as net income (not operating income) before interest,…
by ilene - June 11th, 2010 1:17 pm
Career criminal, master charmer Sam E. writes about his speaking engagement in Portland, where we met and I gathered material for part II of the No Redemption. The most fascinating aspect of Sam’s story is what his admissions teach us about human nature. But on a more practical level, understanding fraud and the techniques used to commit white collar crimes can give investors insight into the integrity of the companies they invest in. Companies built on fraud tend to implode under the weight of their own lies, eventually – can we find these companies early, before their business comes crashing down? (Stay tuned for part III) – Ilene
|Artwork by Marta Dahlig|
Last Friday, I was the key note speaker at the Oregon Health Care Fraud Working Group Training Seminar, sponsored by the United State Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. I explained to the group that while emphasis on effective oversight and internal controls are important factors in preventing or deterring white-collar crime, not enough emphasis is given to the underlying psychology used by white-collar criminals to prey on their victims and effectively commit their crimes.
I have said many times that, "White-collar criminals consider your humanity as a weakness to be exploited in the execution of their crimes" and as the cold-blooded and ruthless criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I learned that you can steal far more with a smile than you can with a gun.
White-collar criminals use a combination of charm and deceit to achieve their objectives. The more likable and charming that I was as a criminal, the easier it was for me to successfully lie to my victims…
by ilene - May 27th, 2010 12:49 am
More on Overstock.com, as JDA takes a less gentle approach to Patrick Byrne’s share dumping than Sam Antar.
Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant
Pic credit: gapingvoid
No serious, see for yourself.
Overstock.com’s wack-a-doo CEO, Patrick Byrne, has apparently found a new kind of crud to foist on the his ever-suffering shareholder base--$3.1 million in Overstock.com shares.
White collar crime fighter Sam Antar has an analysis today of Byrne’s dumping of the shares, which were shed by Byrne’s wholly-owned hedge fund, High Plains Investments LLC.
Barry Ritholtz points out today that he owns shares in the company — an example, I suggest, of the downside of quantitative investment strategies — even though "I personally think it is a steaming pile of shit, that the CEO is an asshole, and that the entire company is probably corrupt."
Did I read that right? Ritholtz is actually long OSTK? Well sh*t, if you look at it as an investment strategy and ignore the blatant fraud, one can assume Overstock has at least two or three more audit firms to turn to just in case KPMG needs to be fired and can keep this up for quite some time as long as the SEC stays toothless. So maybe Barry is onto something.
Uh… Any word on what the SEC is up to when it comes to Overstock?
Gary and Barry floated the theory that Byrne is simply trying to fund the SEC fine his company is about to get handed to their a**es. Hmmm. Maybe he needs to hire some incendiaries to go mess with people who talk poorly of Mr Byrne and his company’s questionable accounting methods? $3.12 million can go quite a ways, you know.
Jr Deputy Accountant humbly disagrees with Ritholtz, if anyone can be that dumb, it’s you-know-who.
by Option Review - November 4th, 2009 4:11 pm
Today’s tickers: XRT, MGM, DE, GLD, UUP, NWL, HNZ, EWZ, UNH, OSTK & STEC
XRT – SPDR S&P Retail ETF – A three-legged transaction in the December contract on the retail exchange-traded fund reveals bearish sentiment by one investor. Shares of the XRT are trading nearly 1% higher today to $34.60. It looks like the trader sold call options in order to offset the cost of buying a put spread. The put spread involved the purchase of 5,000 puts at the December 33 strike for a premium of 1.07 apiece, marked against the sale off 5,000 puts at the lower December 30 strike for approximately 37 cents each. The sale of 5,000 calls at the higher December 36 strike knocked another 87 cents per contract off the total price of the bearish play. The investor more than offset the cost of buying the spread and thus receives a net credit of 17 cents per contract. The full credit is retained by the trader as long as shares of the XRT remain below $36.00 through expiration. Additional profits may accumulate if shares dip below $33.00, while maximum potential gains of 3.00 per contract require that shares trade down to $30.00.
MGM – MGM Mirage, Inc. – Shares of the casino resort operator slipped 2.5% lower to $9.40 today but one options optimist initiated a bullish play on the stock in the March 2010 contract. It appears the trader put on a ratio call spread by buying one in-the-money call option for every three out-of-the-money calls sold. The investor purchased 10,000 calls at the deep in-the-money March 7.0 strike for 3.20 apiece and simultaneously sold 30,000 calls at the higher March 12 strike for 1.05 each. The net cost of the transaction is reduced to just one nickel per contract. The investor probably does not expect shares to rally through $12.00 by expiration because he is short 20,000 calls at that strike price in the March contract. Shares of MGM last traded above $12.00 on October 14, 2009.
DE – Deere & Co. – A large bearish butterfly spread appeared in the March 2010 contract on the agricultural equipment maker. The transaction indicates one investor is positioning for significant declines in the price of DE shares by expiration. Shares are down 1% to $46.76 with just under 90 minutes remaining in the trading day. The investor purchased the upper wing of the…