by Option Review - January 19th, 2012 2:46 pm
Today’s tickers: SWY, GM & PGR
SWY - Safeway Inc. – The North American retailer of groceries and consumer products reports fourth-quarter earnings five weeks from today, and it appears one options player may be locking in gains in Safeway’s shares should investors lose their appetite for the stock following the report. Shares today rose 1.25% to a six-month high of $21.82, on the heels of a more than 35.0% rally since the end of September. The largest transaction in Safeway options today was the one-by-two ratio put spread initiated in the March expiry in the first half of the trading session. It looks like the investor responsible for the spread purchased 4,100 in-the-money puts at the Mar. $22 strike for a premium of $1.09 each and sold 8,200 puts at the lower Mar. $20 strike at a premium of $0.37 apiece. Net premium required to establish the trade amounts to $0.35 per contract. The sale of twice as many lower-strike put options greatly reduces the cost of the directional play and suggests the investor expects limited bearish movement in the price of the underlying rather than a nosedive in the next couple of months. Profits – or downside protection – kick in if shares in Safeway decline 0.80% to breach the effective breakeven price of $21.65, while maximum possible gains of $1.65 per contract result in the event that shares drop 8.3% to settle at $20.00 at expiration in March.
GM - General Motors Co. – Shares in General Motors are up 0.80% at $24.70 after the Company revealed it sold 9.03 million vehicles globally in 2011, which could earn the Detroit, Michigan-based Company the title of world’s largest automaker by unit sales. One sizable options strategy on GM this morning…
by Phil Davis - January 17th, 2012 7:54 am
Isn't this exciting!
The pre-markets are up 1% after a long weekend. That hasn't happened since – two weeks ago! Of course last Tuesday, we were jammed up as well and the Tuesday after Christmas, we were jammed up as well but THIS TIME – we're REALLY feeling it, right?
The funniest thing is the way they have dozens of idiots saying all sorts of ridiculous things on CNBC and not one of them mentions even the vaguest hint of deja vu in what has been the most consistent pattern of late 2011, early 2012.
On this Dollar chart from Scott Pluschau, you can see the dives that are occasionally taken to goose the markets and we have another one this morning with the Dollar down 1%, making the 1% pop in the futures slightly less impressive when taken in context.
This time may be different because, according to Friday's Legacy Commitments of Traders Report released by the CTFC, Commercial Traders are now net short on the Dollar to the tune of 59,023 to just 6,061 longs – about a 10:1 ratio that is EXTREME to say the least. Non-Reportable, Non-Commercial Traders (ie. Speculators), on the other hand, are almost 10:1 the other way with 9,765 long contracts and just 1,390 shorts. Reportable Non-Commercial Traders (Hedge Funds) fill out the rest of the longs with 52,644 long contracts against just 8,057 shorts.
To some extent, hedge funds are also speculators and usually you would assume their bets are covered but that's kind of hard to see with a 7:1 long/short ratio. Keep in mind that Commercial Traders are institutions with business reasons to hedge – they are not going to be flip-flopping their positions so they will NOT be buying Dollars just because they get cheaper. So, if it all hits the fan and the Funds shift to short – we could get quite a tidal-wave of Dollar selling.
That's an odd sort of positions for the speculating class to be taking (super-long on the Dollar) considering the possibility of a highly dilutive quantitative event (QE3) in the very near future. This is why we can't be gung-ho bearish – tempting though it may be and this is why every little rumor of Europe being "fixed" sends the Dollar flying down – there are no buyers – only nervous long Dollar holders.
by Phil Davis - July 13th, 2010 8:19 am
Wheeeee, this is fun!
It’s only been a week since I called for "Turnaround Tuesday" and asked the question "Will CNBC Apologize to America" for their ridiculous, sickening parade of negativity that chased their poor viewers out of the market (now 600 points ago) by completely misrepresenting the economic outlook in order to protect the TERRIBLE advice given by Jim Cramer, the Fast Money Crew, their sponsors etc. etc. – it was all one national frenzy of media negativity designed to shove retail investors entirely out of the market while the cognoscenti went shopping.
It’s not just CNBC, of course, it’s a problem with the whole MSM but I ranted about corporate (top 0.01%) control of the media last week so let’s move on as we wave bye-bye to all the beautiful sheeple who were kind enough to sell us their stocks at the bottom, despite my warnings. Our 500% upside plays are now well on their way to making 500% for us and our "9 Fabulous Dow Plays Plus a Chip Shot" are also looking good already. Even the trade ideas I mentioned right in last Tuesday’s post are well on track as I said last week:
On Friday, I had said to Members right at 9:38, in the Morning Alert: "If we run up, then it will be prudent to get more neutral into the weekend but if we stay down and hold our levels, then saying a little bullish will be fine. Out of short-term short trades if you haven’t already. Keep in mind we have some great 500% upside plays you can still grab here if you think you are too short."
The latter was a reference to our 500% upside plays. We also went with EEM July $38 calls at .99, and a QLD $50/53 bull call spread for $1.30 (selling puts as well for more profits) as well as long plays on RIMM, AA, HOV, VLO and TASR. My optimism was based on the considered TA analysis I shared with Members at 2:39:
After completing last month’s "Omega III" market pattern on the Trade Bots, it’s now time to spring the bear trap and run the "Apha II" into options expiration on July 16th. Maybe there will be as little logic to the rise as there was to the fall – who really cares – it’s just our jobs to try to
by Option Review - April 14th, 2010 5:09 pm
Today’s tickers: F, PGR, IBM, YHOO, SMH, LINTA, VALE, POT, LEN & RRGB
F – Ford Motor Co. – Call options on automobile maker, Ford Motor Co., are flying off the assembly line this afternoon with shares of the underlying stock soaring 4.5% higher to $13.36. Investors exchanged more than 381,000 option contracts on Ford by 3:25 pm (ET), and paid extra attention to call contracts, trading more than 3.7 calls to each single put option in action. The most heavily trafficked area of the Ford options arena today are call contracts at the September $14 strike where bullish players bought up approximately 86,000 lots for an average premium of $1.12 apiece. More than 99,100 calls changed hands at this strike, which puts the previously existing open interest of 22,831 contracts to shame. Call-buyers holding the September $14 strike call options are positioned to make money if the auto maker’s shares surge 13.2% over the current price to surpass the average breakeven price of $15.12 by September expiration. Ford’s overall reading of options implied volatility is up 14.5% to 39.48% with 30 minutes remaining in the trading session.
PGR – The Progressive Corp. – Bullish options investors dabbled in call options on the insurance holding company in late afternoon trading with shares of the underlying stock rallying up 5.55% to a new 52-week high of $20.55. One investor was prepared for the rally and banked profits on a previously established long call position today. It looks like the options optimist originally purchased 2,000 calls at the May $20 strike for an average premium of $0.35 apiece back on March 25, 2010, when shares of Progressive Corp. were trading at around $18.86 each. The subsequent surge in the value of Progressive’s shares prompted the trader to sell the calls today for a premium of $0.95 apiece, thus banking net profits of $0.60 per contract. Finally, the investor initiated a fresh bullish stance on the stock by purchasing 2,000 calls at the higher August $22.5 strike for a premium of $0.40 each. The trader makes money on the new call acquisition if the insurer’s shares increase another 11.45% to exceed the effective breakeven share price of $22.90 by expiration day in August.
IBM – International Business Machines Corp. – The computer services giant received a vote of confidence by one big bullish options player this afternoon amid a 1.7% increase in the…
by Phil Davis - January 19th, 2010 8:08 am
"There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown,
The dream is gone.
but I have become comfortably numb." – Pink Floyd
I have a theory that the markets (and the American people in general) aren’t irrational, they are simply shell-shocked after suffering a very traumatic group financial experience…
To be shell-shocked is to be "mentally confused, upset, or exhausted as a result of excessive stress" and the most common symptoms are: Fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one’s surroundings, and inability to prioritize – That certainly sounds like our Congress doesn’t it? Combat stress disorder was first diagnosed in WWI, when 10% of the troops were killed and 56% wounded – far worse than had been experienced in previous wars. Our current financial crisis has similarly affected more people than any previous crisis with almost everyone knowing someone who is bankrupt or lost their jobs or homes and almost no one escaped the carnage of the downturn without some financial damage.
Combat fatigue may go a long way to explaining the severe drop-off in volume that has plagued the markets since March, with participation now down to 25% of where we were last January and that leaves us open to the blatant sort of market manipulation that Karl Denninger caught last week as well as the usual nonsense we get daily from HFT programs that drive the market with such precision that we are able to tell how the day is going to go by simply checking our hourly volume targets. Here’s a clip from CNBC where a floor trader discusses market manipulation as a fact of trading (2 mins in).
As Nicholas Santiago points out on In The Money Stocks, "January is usually a very high volume month, yet it has started off the New Year even lighter than the last two months of 2009. Light volume markets are very difficult to short. Hence the old saying, ‘never short a dull market’." Not only is the market volume…
by Phil Davis - October 10th, 2009 8:37 am
Not such a good week!
Last week was FANTASTIC and we had 28 winning trades out of 36 with an average gain of 42% on the winners and an average loss of 12% on the losers – now THAT’s A GOOD WEEK. We were stopped out of most of our bearish trades on Monday but we took a lot of new ones, which I’ll get into later… Of course, since we are rangish and play both ends, the good news is we still had our "losers" and puts that we sold on long positions and those turned into huge winners in just 5 days:
- AA at $13.30, out at $15 - up 12.7%
- AAPL Jan $165 puts sold for $7.40, now $4.70 – up 36%
- BAC Oct $17 puts sold for .97, now .28 – up 71%
- DIA Nov $92 calls at $5.40, now $7.30 - up 35%
- MHP 2011 $25 puts sold for $5.20, now 5.10 – up 2%
- RIMM March $100 calls at $1.45, now $1.25, down 13.7%
So, of the 6 that were not working last week, 5 are winners this week. As I mentioned at the end of last week’s wrap up, we were more than satisfied with our 5% drop that week and we did expect a bit of a bounce but we made the mistake of thinking The 250 points we gained by Tuesday morning was the end of it, but here we are at the end of the week, another 100 points higher and right back where we started from when we shorted into the rally in mid September.
Last weekend we were at a great point in our range as all our put plays had just paid off, this will be an interesting contrast as we have serious problems with our new short plays and we have a little less conviction than we had in mid September that we will get our correction – not after such a sharp turn off the 5% line this week. Nonetheless, we did stay 55% bearish into the weekend overall – still playing for our range. But, I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s go back to Monday and see how we got here….