HPQ - Hewlett-Packard Co. – Bullish trading in Hewlett-Packard options this morning suggests some traders are positioning for a rebound in battered shares of the tech giant. The stock snapped a four-day losing streak on Tuesday, rallying 2.1% to $21.50 by midday in New York, following the better-than-expected ISM non-manufacturing index report this morning. Shares in HPQ have lost nearly 30.0% of their value since mid-February. Traders picking up in-the-money calls in the July expiry are prepared to benefit should shares in Hewlett continue to recover during the next six weeks. More than 11,500 calls have changed hands at the July $21 strike against open interest of 3,028 positions. It looks like most of the contracts were purchased for an average premium of $1.36 apiece, thus positioning buyers to profit at expiration should HPQ’s shares rally another 4.0% to surpass the average breakeven point at $22.36.
NWSA - News Corp. – A sizable trade in News Corp. call options today appears to be a bet against any significant rally in shares of the international media company during the next eight trading sessions. The stock is currently flat on the day at $18.59 as of 12:15 p.m. ET. News Corp. popped up on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner this morning after some 8,295 June $19 strike calls were sold at a premium of $0.20 apiece. The strategy results in maximum possible profits of $0.20 per contract should the options expire worthless next week. Naked short calls leave the seller vulnerable to unlimited losses to the upside in the event of a rally in the price of the underlying above the effective breakeven price of $19.20, however, it’s possible the strategist is long the stock and selling covered rather than uncovered calls against the position. Shares in News Corp. have declined 10.2% in the past four weeks, but need only rally 3.3% over the current price of $18.59 to…
RIMM – Research in Motion Limited – Optimistic options players populated the Blackberry maker’s August contract, selling puts and buying calls to prepare for the price of the underlying stock to continue climbing ahead of expiration day next month. RIMM’s shares rallied as much as 4.53% today to an intraday high of $55.59 on reports the Canadian company will reveal its new touch screen BlackBerry in New York next Tuesday. Investors are chomping at the bit to see if the BlackBerry 9800 can give iPhone maker, Apple, a run for its money – or market share. RIMM’s shares have bounced up off their early-July lows, but the recovery could be short-lived if the 9800 turns out to be a disappointment. Traders hoping to see a successful launch of the touch screen device, and subsequent share price appreciation, employed bullish strategies. Investors picked up at least 3,800 calls at the now in-the-money August $55 strike for an average premium of $2.15 apiece. Buying interest spread to the higher August $57.5 strike where 3,900 calls were purchased at an average premium of $1.16 each. Uber-bulls bought roughly 2,900 call options at the August $60 strike for an average premium of $0.68 a-pop. Investors long the August $60 strike calls are poised to profit should RIMM’s shares surge 9.25% to surpass the average breakeven price of $60.68 by August expiration. The sale of out-of-the-money put options is another bullish signal investors are itching for the current rally to continue. Traders sold some 2,000 puts at the August $50 strike for an average premium of $0.55 each, and shed another 5,200 puts at the higher August $52.5 strike for an average premium of $1.21 apiece. In total, options players exchanged more than 91,300 contracts on Research in Motion by 3:40 pm ET. Options implied volatility on RIMM is up 3.4% to 43.85% ahead of the final bell.
INTU – Intuit Inc. – The provider of business and financial management solutions popped up on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner late in the trading session after one options strategist initiated a bearish transaction in the October contract. Intuit’s shares are down slightly by 0.15% to stand at $39.50 as of 3:15 pm ET. It looks like the trader bought a plain-vanilla debit put spread, buying 6,346 puts at the October $37.5 strike for a…
JCI – Johnson Controls, Inc. – A long strangle enacted on the maker of batteries for automobiles and hybrid electric vehicles this afternoon implies the firm’s share price could swing dramatically ahead of May expiration. Johnson’s shares gained 0.72% in late afternoon trading to stand at $33.35. Earlier in the session shares of the underlying stock reached a new 52-week high of $33.60. The investor responsible for the long strangle play is expecting to profit if JCI’s shares trade outside of a specified range ahead of expiration day. The volatility player purchased roughly 10,000 puts at the May $32 strike for an average premium of $0.89 apiece and picked up 10,000 calls at the higher May $34 strike for $1.14 each. The net cost of the strangle amounts to $2.03 per contract. Shares must trade above the upper breakeven price of $36.03, or trade beneath the lower breakeven point at $29.97, in order for the strangler to amass profits ahead of May expiration.
LEA – Lear Corp. – Bullish options activity on the manufacturer of automotive seat systems suggests at least one investor is preparing for shares to trade at a significantly higher price by expiration in September. Lear’s shares increased 0.85% to $80.37during the current session to trade just $0.53 below the current 52-week high on the stock of $80.90. The optimistic options strategist initiated a debit call spread by purchasing 2,500 calls at the September $85 strike for a premium of $5.40 apiece, and by selling the same number of calls at the higher September $95 strike for $2.10 each. Net premium paid for the transaction amounts to $3.30 per contract. Thus, the trader stands ready to accrue maximum potential profits of $6.70 per contract if Lear’s shares surge 18.20% from the current price to $95.00 by expiration day in September.
X – United States Steel Corp. – Bullish options trading on U.S. Steel Corp. today follows news reports that steelmakers are set to hike prices globally as the economic recovery drains inventory levels and boosts demand and prices for raw materials. The price of steel, according to a Bloomberg News article, increased 9.1% in the U.S. during the month of February. U.S. Steel’s shares rallied 2% during the first half of the trading session to stand at $64.77, and earlier this morning traded up to…
In trying to assess the trajectory of the US economy, one is struck by the recent divergence between the manufacturing and the services sectors. Manufacturing in the United States has picked up steam recently in spite of some weather-related headwinds (see chart). The service sector on the other hand took a turn for the worse, which is negatively impacting the labor markets in this service-oriented economy (see story). A couple of key indicators point to slower non-manufacturing activity:
OvaScienceSM (NASDAQ: OVAS), a life sciences company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of female fertility treatments, today announced the issuance of two United States patents covering its AUGMENTSM fertility treatment. AUGMENT is based on the Company's egg precursor cell (EggPCSM) technology and is being developed to improve egg quality and the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF). AUGMENT will be available in international IVF clinics this year.
“The new patents strengthen and extend the protection for AUGMENT in support of our efforts to offer a potential new fertility treatment option to women and families,” said Michelle Dipp, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of OvaScience. “We continue to aggressively pursue additional pate...
Before the market opened, the weekly unemployment report came in better than expected, although the reporting of new claims has skewed in both directions by weather (e.g., my home state). The S&P 500 rallied at the open and hit its morning high 30 minutes later -- one that it would beat by a tenth of a point during the noon hour, up 0.43%. The index traded lower in the afternoon and closed with a trimmed gain of 0.17%, but that's another record high.
Tomorrow's employment report for February will be closely watched by market participants, but the pattern of late has to write off weak economic news as weather-related and celebrate goo...
The Global X Social Media Index ETF (Ticker: SOCL) touched fresh record highs on Thursday morning, surprising no one given the top three holdings of the Fund are Hong Kong-based Tencent Holdings (12.678%), Facebook Inc. (12.506%) and LinkedIn Corp. (8.166%), which are up 130%, 160% and 22%, respectively, since this time last year. The SOCL reflects the performance of companies involved in the social media industry, including companies that provide social networking, file sharing and other web-based media applications. Shares in the ETF rose 1.3% today to a new high of $23.00, and have soared approximately 65% since this time last year.
Today brought three better than expected economic releases from Construction Spending, ISM Manufacturing, and Personal Income. The ISM figure was quite unexpected and Personal Income was well above expectations. If we ignore for a moment that the Final GDP reading for Q4 was lowered on Friday (which may or may not have been primarily caused by severe weather), we have had a week of better than expected economic numbers. Corporate earnings have also continued to exceed forecasts, albeit with a bit more cautious guidance.
Of course, none of that matters when the “war drums” start beating. Russia and the Ukraine are engaged in a serious game of “chicken” with a bear in the hen house. The Russian ruble has borne the brunt of the damage so far with a double digit drop today again...
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This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).
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Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.
And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014? The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.
As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...
Welcome to the fouth update of the IRA Virtual Portfolio. First I am going to summarize the current state of the Portfolio then I will get into all the activity we had during September expiration.
Profit and Loss – Net of closed positions the portfolio is up a total of $769
Market Commentary – Last expiration I said, "I would like to put a total of $20,000 to work by the end of SEP expiration. If the VIX pops up to around 20 I plan to put about $50,000 total to work." The market didn't quite reach the goal but I did manage to deploy $15,000 of buying power. I still feel the market is too high and expect a correction during October. If the vix pops up to around 20 I still plan to put about $50,000 to work. If a correction doesn't happen I still plan to have a total of $25,000 in buying power put to work by October expiration. Now on to the act...
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