by Option Review - June 27th, 2012 3:57 pm
Today’s tickers: ORLY, MRK & PCS
ORLY - O'Reilly Automotive, Inc. – Shares in auto parts retailer, O’Reilly Automotive, are facing double-digit declines today after the company cut its second-quarter same-store sales projection and said earnings for the quarter are likely to come in at the low end of their previously estimated $1.13 to $1.17 a share range. The stock is off the lows of the session, down 15.0% at $81.97 just before midday in New York after earlier sliding as much as 21.5% to an intraday and six-month low of $75.61. The sharp pullback in O’Reilly shares today appears to have attracted contrarian players to the front month calls. Traders positioning for the price of the underlying to rebound in the near term snapped up at least a few hundred calls at the July $80 strike for an average premium of $1.93 apiece this morning. The intraday improvement in the share price during the first half of the session now sees these calls changing hands at $4.30 apiece. Similar bullish positioning is building in the July $85 strike calls, as well. It looks like traders purchased roughly 600 of the $85 calls for an average premium of $0.65 apiece in the first few hours of the trading day, contracts that now tout an asking price of $1.65 each. Call buyers may walk away with big profits at expiration should O’Reilly Automotive’s shares continue to recover during the next few weeks. The front month calls expire the week prior to ORLY’s second-quarter earnings report on July 25th.
MRK - Merck & Co., Inc. – Call options on Merck & Co. are active today as shares in the drug maker tack on 1.7% to trade at a near multi-year high of $40.73. The stock has climbed roughly 10.0% since the first of the month. Substantial volume is building in the Aug. $42 strike call where approximately 20,000 lots changed hands by…
by Option Review - January 4th, 2012 1:53 pm
Today’s tickers: LULU, YHOO, PCS & COF
LULU - Lululemon Athletica, Inc. – Shares in the maker of high-end athletic apparel jumped 7.5% to $50.55 today after the stock was added to the Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs, but one options trade on LULU seems to be saying the price of the underlying may head downward, dog. It looks like the buyer of a 1,000-lot January $43.75/$48.75 bear put spread on Lululemon paid a net premium of $1.24 per contract to position for potential double-digit declines in the share price through expiration later in the month. The spread prepares the investor to profit should LULU’s shares drop at least 6.0% to breach the effective breakeven price of $47.51, with maximum potential profits of $3.76 per contract ripe for harvest in the event the stock declines 13.5% to settle below $43.75 at expiration day. Shares in the apparel retailer dipped below $43.75 as recently as December 15.
YHOO - Yahoo!, Inc. – A massive transaction in Yahoo! options signals confidence in the Internet-media giant by at least one large player following the company’s announcement it has appointed PayPal President, Scott Thompson, to serve as its new CEO. The decision to appoint Thompson did not help shares today, however, with the stock currently down 2.7% at $15.84 as of 12:25 PM in New York. The largest single trade on YHOO today, a one-by-two ratio call spread, suggests the price of the underlying may post limited gains during the first seven months of 2012. It looks like the strategist purchased 20,000 calls at the July $16 strike for a premium of $1.92 each, and sold 40,000 calls up at the July $19 strike at a premium of $0.67 apiece. Selling twice as many $19 strike calls significantly reduces net premium paid on the spread to $0.59 per…
by Option Review - October 31st, 2011 3:01 pm
Today’s tickers: PCS, BID, BBBY & CVC
PCS - MetroPCS Communications, Inc. – Shares in the wireless provider are down 4.25% at $8.56 ahead of the company’s pre-market third-quarter earnings release on Tuesday. Options players populating the front month calls and puts appear to be taking largely bullish stances on the stock. Investors positioning for shares to move higher in the next few weeks picked up more than 2,600 in-the-money calls at the Nov. $8.0 strike for an average premium of $1.05 a-pop. Call buyers at this strike profit at expiration in the event that shares in MetroPCS rally 5.7% to surpass the average breakeven point at $9.05. Options players also snapped up more than 300 call options at each of the higher Nov. $9.0 and $10 strike prices at average premiums of $0.49 and $0.19 each, respectively. Finally, the sale of some 1,100 puts at the Nov. $8.0 strike for an average premium of $0.40 per contract may mean traders see shares in the name trading above $8.00 come expiration day next month. Put open interest at the Nov. $8.0 strike is sufficient to cover volume in play thus far in the session. As such, traders may be adjusting existing positions rather than selling-to-open bullish stances on PCS. Options implied volatility on the stock is up 15.9% at 77.25% in early-afternoon trade. Nearly 9,000 option contracts have changed hands on MetroPCS so far today, with trading in calls outpacing that of puts by a factor of roughly two-to-one.
BID - Sotheby’s Holdings Inc. – The auctioneer of authenticated fine art, antiques, jewelry and collectibles popped up on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner this morning after one strategist initiated a sizable ratio put spread in the January 2012 contract. BID’s shares are currently down 3.2% at $36.26 as of 11:50 am in New York. The put player responsible for just about all of the activity in Sotheby’s options today may be bracing for limited bearish movement in the price of the underlying heading into the company’s third-quarter earnings report after the close on Thursday. The investor appears to have purchased 2,000 puts at the Jan. 2012 $35 strike for an average premium of $3.325 each, and sold 4,000 puts at the lower Jan. 2012 $30 strike at a premium of $1.50 apiece. Net premium paid to initiate the spread amounts to $0.325 per contract. The strategist profits if BID’s shares slide 4.4%…
by Option Review - August 2nd, 2011 1:43 pm
Today’s tickers: PCS, CTRP, PLL & TLM
PCS - MetroPCS Communications, Inc. – Shares in the wireless communications provider dropped like a rock this morning after the company’s profits for the second quarter came in below analyst estimates. MetroPCS shares surrendered 35.5% at times this morning to secure an intraday low of $10.44. The sharp correction in the price of the underlying spurred frenzied options trading in the front month. Investors engaged diverse strategies on the pay-as-you-go wireless operator, with some traders positioning for the price of the underlying to rebound and others betting bearish momentum has not yet run its course. Strategists expecting shares to recover somewhat ahead of expiration this month picked up more than 2,200 calls at the August $12 strike for an average premium of $0.30 a-pop. Call buyers profit if shares in PCS bounce 17.8% off its lowest point of the day to exceed the average breakeven price of $12.30 by August expiration. Like-minded optimists scooped up some 675 calls out at the September $13 strike for an average premium of $0.31 each. Meanwhile, bearish players purchased 1,400 puts at the August $11 strike at an average premium of $0.51 apiece, and picked up another 300 puts at the lower August $10 strike for an average premium of $0.19 per contract. Investors long the puts profit in the event that shares in PCS edge beneath the average breakeven prices of $10.49 and $9.81 by expiration, respectively. Finally, pre-earnings put buyers have a lot to smile about today. It looks like investors purchased around 4,000 puts at the August $14 strike for an average premium of $0.24 each on Monday. Securing the right to sell MetroPCS shares at $14.00 each today costs $3.20 per put option. In other words, the value of those put positions increased more than 13-fold overnight.…
by Option Review - April 11th, 2011 5:37 pm
Today’s tickers: BIDU, PCS, JACK & CVC
BIDU - Baidu, Inc. – Frenzied options trading ensued at Baidu today on reports the owner of China’s most-used search engine signed an agreement with Facebook Inc. to set up a social networking website in China. BIDU’s shares rallied nearly 5.0% at the start of the session to touch an intraday- and new all-time high of $148.92. Investors are favoring call options on the stock, trading more than 2.8 calls for each single put option in play today. Options expiring this Friday are the most heavily populated in early-afternoon trade, with two-way trading traffic evident at most strikes. Volume is heaviest at the April $150 strike, with more than 15,740 calls having changed hands there as of 12:40pm on previously existing open interest of 5,441 contracts. Call volume is substantial at the in-the-money April $145 and April $155 strikes today, as well. Investors have traded upwards of 11,100 calls at each of those strikes this afternoon. Options expiring in May are active, and provide traders the opportunity to take positions on the stock in advance of the company’s first-quarter earnings report on April 27, 2011. Medium-term optimists scooped up call options at sky-high strikes in anticipation of continued bullish movement in Baidu’s shares through June expiration. Investors picked up more than 1,100 calls as high as the June $190 strike for an average premium of $0.95 a-pop. Call buyers at this strike make money if shares in BIDU spike 28.2% higher in the next couple of months to top the average breakeven price of $190.95 by expiration day in June. Options implied volatility on the Beijing-based company increased 11.2% to 47.03% as of 1:00pm in New York, with overall options volume on the stock exceeding 99,930 contracts.
PCS - MetroPCS Communications, Inc. – The…
by Option Review - May 6th, 2010 5:34 pm
Today’s tickers: XRT, MBI, CAT, XHB, FLS, PCS & TWC
XRT – SPDR S&P Retail ETF – It’s not surprising that we are seeing bearish trading patterns emerge on the XRT, an exchange-traded fund designed to mirror the performance of the S&P Retail Select Industry Index, with shares of the fund trading 5.30% lower as of 3:20 pm (ET) to stand at $40.25. One long-term pessimistic individual initiated a three-legged bearish options combination play on the XRT using both call and put options. It looks like the investor partially financed the purchase of a debit put spread by selling twice as many out-of-the-money call options by volume. The trader purchased 5,000 puts at the September $40 strike for an average premium of $2.42 apiece, and sold the same number of puts at the lower September $34 strike for a premium of $0.84 each. Finally, the investor reduced the premium outlay required to establish the transaction by selling 10,000 calls at the September $48 strike for a premium of $0.73 per contract. The net cost of the options combination play is reduced to just $0.12 per contract. The investor responsible for the pessimistic play makes money if shares of the underlying fund slip beneath the effective breakeven point at $39.08. Maximum potential profits of $5.88 per contract are available to the trader should shares of the retail fund plummet 15.5% from the current price to breach $34.00 by September expiration. Options implied volatility on the XRT is up 15% to 34.80% with roughly 40 minutes remaining in the trading day.
MBI – MBIA Inc. – Investors who earlier in the session scooped up large numbers of put options on the insurance company are likely pleased as punch given the subsequent 10.4% decline in MBIA’s share price to $8.81 as of 3:25 pm (ET). Bearish investors purchased approximately 50,000 puts at the June $7.0 strike for an average premium of $0.75 apiece at around 11:40 am (ET) this morning when shares of the underlying stock were trading at $9.30 each. The decline in share price since this morning coupled with the 25.2% increase in the overall reading of options implied volatility on the stock to 136.22% inflated premium on the June $7.0 strike puts, which are currently up 200% on the day to reflect an asking price of $0.90 per contract. Put buyers in this case are poised to amass profits should…
by phil - April 15th, 2010 5:50 am
I am one reluctant bull!
I am still trying to be bullish, I am trying to get enthusiastic about this rally and it's been 3 weeks since I went to mainly cash rather than leave the majority of our Buy List on the table. The Dow was at 10,850 that day and I didn't think we'd see the top of 11,000 for more than a day but now we've been up here for 2 weeks and yesterday we had strong(ish) volume on a strong up day and I'm still having trouble believing it BUT – believe it we must as long as our upside levels hold.
Those levels are now: Dow 11,000, S&P 1,200, Nas 2,500, NYSE 7,700 and Russell 720.
We had a nice, relaxing holiday but now we have hard work ahead as I think the investing environment is littered with land mines – ready to blow up in our face if we take any mis-steps. This bull has horns and we were gored by daring to go bearish in our $100K Virtual Portfolio but our Buy List is all bull and, hopefully, no crap as we try to make safe plays out of the finest companies.
Ideally, our Buy List plays are about finding bargains. We may love AAPL, but they are not on sale. Earning season will hopefully be a great time to do some bargain hunting so this list will be a work in progress but for today we're just going to review our remaining open plays from the last list and also I would like Members to please use the comment section on this post to suggest companies we should be looking at. Who do you think is trading way too cheaply? We especially love dividend payers, of course and I'll be looking for companies that service the top 10%, not the bottom 90% – who still look pretty screwed to me and, from yesterday's news, it seems like the top 10% is down to the top 8% but it doesn't seem to bother the markets so we won't dwell on the implications until we're below 5% and, of course, our goal is to be in the top 5% when it all hits the fan…
After having really good timing on our Feb 8th entries, March 18th seemed like a good time to take the money and run and we shut down 2/3 of our Buy List postions. Let's do a…
by phil - March 18th, 2010 6:15 pm
Oh, I have tried!
I have tried to be bullish, I have tried to get enthusiastic about this rally but I have been reviewing these picks for a few days and looking at the market, the charts, the sentiment, reading the news and studying the fundamentals and I'm OUT! Oh, I'll be back, we'll set up a new, aggressive $100K Virtual Portfolio next week for some fun shorter-terrm plays (still keeping the conservative one for the full year) to take full advantage of this insanity but it's going to be mainly cash through the end of the month as I do not trust this rally one bit and it will be so nice to head into the easter holiday with lots of cash on the sidelines.
We hit a perfect entry on Feb 8th, in our last round, and the market is up almost 9% since that day and I'm not expecting another 9% in the next 6 weeks so it's a very good time to take a break. We were able to roll and enjoy these trades since Christmas and we will be revisiting some, maybe even keeping a few but, on the whole, I want to do what I often counsel members to do, which is follow our simple two-step process to maximizing your profits in a market rally:
- Step 1) Take Money
- Step 2) Run
There – isn't that simple? Keep in mind that we LOVE all of these stocks so we'll be back in them if they go on sale and, perhaps, even if they don't and the market looks stronger through April earnings. Meanwhile, keep in mind that these are 6-week profits so 20% is A LOT for generally conservative plays. Not much else to talk about – let's just see how many of these suckers are worth keeping (noted in green):
AET (12/21 – $34.04, 1/9 – $32.70, 1/31 – $29.97, 3/18 – $33.24) They could not have done better for us, staying right in range and giving us 4 excellent sales but health care is passing this weekend and that's too wild for us to stick with. Our last batch is right on target:
- Apr $33 calls sold for $2.40, now .40 – up 83%
- Apr $30 puts sold for $1.50, now .02 - up 99%
- 2012 $25/35 bull call
by Option Review - January 29th, 2010 4:29 pm
Today’s tickers: COP, EEM, DE, SIRI, JPM, FCX, T, PCS, MSFT & EK
COP – ConocoPhillips– Oil and gas company, ConocoPhillips, attracted an optimistic options player to the January 2011 contract today. Shares began the trading day on the up-and-up, but reversed direction in the latter portion of the session, falling slightly by 0.20% to $48.26. The long-term bullish strategist purchased a debit call spread to position for upside gains in the underlying share price by expiration next January. The spread involved the purchase of 5,000 calls at the January 2011 $50 strike for an average premium of $3.91 apiece, marked against the sale of the same number of calls at the higher January 2011 $65 strike for about $0.60 each. The net cost of the transaction amounts to $3.31 per contract. The investor responsible for the trade stands ready to accrue maximum potential profits of $11.69 per contract if COP’s shares gain 35% over the current price to reach $65.00 by expiration day. Shares must rise at least 10.5% from today’s price before the call-spreader breaks even on the transaction at $53.31.
EEM – iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF – Shares of the MSCI Emerging Markets exchange-traded fund fell less than 1% in afternoon trading to stand at $38.47. September contract options trading suggests one investor is positioning for continued downward movement in the price of the underlying stock by expiration. The pessimistic trader established a bearish risk reversal on the fund by selling 5,300 out-of-the-money call options at the September $45 strike for a premium of $1.35 apiece, spread against the purchase of the same number of put options at the September $33 strike for $1.77 each. The investor paid a net $0.42 per contract for the transaction. Profits to the downside accumulate only if shares of the EEM slump another 15.3% from the current price to breach the breakeven point at $32.58 by expiration in the next eight months. We note that the fund’s share price has remained above the $33.00-level since July 15, 2009.
DE – Deere & Co. – Shares of agricultural equipment maker, Deere & Co., are trading 1.80% higher to stand at $52.03 in the first half of the trading day. Notable options activity appeared in the January 2011 contract where one investor initiated a long-term protective play using put options. The trader established a put spread by purchasing 10,000 puts at…
by phil - January 16th, 2010 8:29 am
Wheee, what a ride!
The week can be neatly summed up by my 1:35 comment to Members in yesterday's chat, summed the week up quite nicely as I said: "So funny, a whole week of gains I thought were ridiculous wiped out in 4 hours." Of course it's easy to laugh when you play the market correctly – as I had said in the morning post, we had cashed out into Thursday's run up and planned on going bearish through the weekend but it turned out we got our sell-off early, jumping the $100K Virtual Portfolio, for example, up 12% in one day – enough to send us back to cash rather than risk a weekend reversal.
We laid the groundwork for this little sell-off in last weekend's posts as we put up an aggressive Buy List for Members but in my regular weekend post we emphasized the need to cover our buys with "Disaster Hedges" as we were heading to the tops I had predicted when I published the "Last Charts of the Decade," where I set resistance target of Dow 10,457, S&P 1,135, Nasdaq 2,314, NYSE 7,389 and Russell 638. As you can see, I pretty much hit them on the head, other than the Dow but that's because our year-old 5% rule calculations did not account for the change in the Dow that replaced C and GM with TRV and CVX, who added about 100 Dow points since their inclusion so we started using 10,549 this month and we'll make it 10,557 for today's chart, which makes perfect sense looking at this group (I added the Transports as they are fell right off our 2,000 target, giving us the early warning that things were not right):
As you can see, the 5% Rule rules! I will apologize for being such a grump this week but the rally was really starting to annoy me as it was so blatantly forced up through our levels without a proper test that is was really getting me down about the markets. I don't mind that the markets are manipulated, that's been going on since markets were invented – it's stupid and destructive manipulation that bothers me, the kind that, long term, destroys more investor confidence than it builds and squanders…