by Option Review - November 2nd, 2012 1:21 pm
Today’s tickers: GES, SBUX & LOPE
GES - Guess?, Inc. – Contrarian options trades initiated on apparel retailer, Guess?, Inc., this morning look for shares in the name to rebound during the next five months. The stock is down sharply on Friday, trading 4.7% lower on the session at $24.67 as of 11:15 a.m. ET, after the company announced Thursday the resignations of its CFO and COO. The price of the underlying earlier slumped 10.4% to a fresh three-year low of $23.20 amid news of the executive resignations and after a number of analysts cut ratings and share price targets on the stock. Options players positioning for Guess shares to recover next year purchased more than 6,000 calls at the Mar. 2013 $26 strike this morning for an average premium of $1.47 per contract. Call buyers stand ready to profit at expiration in March should shares in the specialty retailer rally 11% over the current level of $24.67 to top the average breakeven price of $27.47. Shares in GES last traded above $27.47 at the end of September. Guess?, Inc. is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings at the end of the month.
SBUX - Starbucks Corp. – Shares in the retailer of specialty coffee, beverages and snacks are soaring this morning after the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday after the bell and raised its quarterly dividend by 24% to $0.21 a share. Starbucks shares increased as much as 11.4% in the first half of the trading session to $51.94, the highest level since mid-September. Some options traders appear to be gearing up for continued gains in the price of the underlying next week by purchasing weekly calls that expire next Friday. Bullish players snapped up more than 320 of the Nov. 09 ’12 $52 strike calls for an average premium of $0.39 apiece. Volume in these weekly options is heaviest up at the Nov. 09 ’12 $52.5 strike call, where more than 2,000…
by Option Review - October 19th, 2012 1:27 pm
Today’s tickers: ATHN, SBUX & MRVL
ATHN - athenahealth, Inc. – A downgrade to ‘underperform’ from ‘hold’ with a 12-month share price target of $60.00 at Jefferies sent shares in the provider of cloud-based business services for healthcare providers down as much as 12.6% to $70.00 this morning. Shares in athenahealth are off their lows of the session as of midday in New York, though the stock still trades 9% lower on the day at $72.81. One options player positioning for shares in the name to move closer to Jefferies’ target share price of $60.00 during the next couple of months established a bearish stance in the December expiry options. The trader appears to have purchased a 1,000-lot Dec. $60/$75 put spread for a net premium of $5.80 per contract. Profits are available on the spread if shares in ATHN decline 5% from the current price to breach the effective breakeven point at $69.20. The strategist may walk away with maximum potential profits of $9.20 per contract at December expiration in the event that athenahealth’s shares plunge 18% to $60.00. Shares in ATHN are up 45% year-to-date despite Friday’s sharp pullback.
SBUX - Starbucks Corp. – Shares in Starbucks went the way of the market on Friday, sliding lower on the heels of disappointing earnings from the likes of Chipotle, McDonald’s and General Electric, among others. The stock is down 4.1% at $45.47 as of 12:20 p.m. in New York. Call and put buying in the January 2013 expiry options this morning suggests mixed expectations for the direction SBUX shares are likely to take during the next few months. Traders itching for a rally in the price of the underlying appear to have purchased 2,000 calls at the Jan. 2013 $47 strike for an average premium of $2.08 apiece. Call buyers stand prepared to profit at expiration next year should the stock climb 8% to top the average breakeven price of $49.08. Meanwhile, trading traffic…
by phil - October 11th, 2012 8:19 am
"We don't see the focus on poverty as about charity, but rather about investment in future growth."
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim outlined his vision of what the multilateral lender should do, focusing sharply on cases of significant poverty. Dr. Kim said economic-growth expectations were being scaled back everywhere but that he was determined to prevent the substantial gains made by emerging economies over the past decade from being wiped out. "Every country has to look at its public spending and see what works," he said.
The World Bank had their annual meeting in conjunction with the IMF in Tokyo this week and Dr. Young's message is no longer the opposite of Christine LaGaurd's, who has essentially come around to thinking that austerity is no longer the answer – pushing for debt write-downs for Greece, Portugal and Spain as well as backing Greece's request for two more years to meet its fiscal targets. “We will spare no time, no effort to actually do as much as we can in order to help Greece,” Lagarde said. The fund’s purpose is “to make sure that Greece is back on its feet, that it can one day return to markets, that it doesn’t have the need for constant support.”
Meanwhile, Spain was downgraded to one notch over junk (BBB-) with a negative credit watch by S&P last night but it was more of a "buy on the news" event this morning as it's certainly not a shocker that Spain's paper is worthless without the ESM backing. Yields on 10-year Spanish bonds shot up 9bps to 5.89% but stopping short of 6% was considered a positive. Spain is the poster child for the idiocy of using austerity to combat debt (ie. the Romney plan) as squeezing the economy by cutting Government spending has actually worsened the country's fiscal position, which has led to calls for greater austerity but these calls come from bankers and bondholders – who just want to get paid, no matter the long-term damage done to the borrowers.
“There is no chance that Spain will hit its targets,” said Megan Greene, director of European economics at Roubini Global Economics LLC, “The deficit targets are economic suicide.’ “Even as you cut, the gap between spending and revenue collection keeps getting larger,” said Jonathan Tepper, a partner at research firm Variant Perception. “We’re…
by Option Review - August 15th, 2012 2:22 pm
Today’s tickers: XLF, SBUX & BKS
XLF - Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF – Options on the XLF are among the most active by volume this morning after a large block of upside calls changed hands in the first 45 minutes of the trading session. Shares in the ETF rose 0.70% to $15.03 earlier today, just below the three-month high of $15.06. Heavy trading traffic in the October expiry calls suggests one options market participant may be positioning for the price of the underlying to soar to a new 52-week high during the next couple of months. It looks like a block of approximately 87,000 calls were purchased at the Oct. $16 strike for a premium of $0.12 apiece. The sizable position may pay off at expiration in the event XLF shares increase 7.5% over the current price of $15.00 to exceed the effective breakeven price of $16.12. Shares in the ETF last traded above $16.12 in May 2011.
SBUX - Starbucks Corp. – Shares in Starbucks are continuing to recover today, with the stock up better than 2.6% on the session at $47.67 just before 11:30 a.m. in New York, on the heels of a rough patch that saw the price of the underlying slide 30% from a record high of $62.00 in April down to a six-month low of $43.04 in August. Options activity on the seller of Frappaccino Blended Beverages, Bistro Boxes and various baked goods today suggests some traders are positioning for the recovery story to continue to play out, at least through the end of this week. Fresh interest in upside calls is heaviest at the Aug. $48 strike this morning where 2,400 calls changed hands against open interest of 492 contracts. It looks like most of the call options were purchased for an average premium of $0.29 apiece, thus positioning buyers to profit should SBUX shares rally another 1.3% to exceed the average breakeven price of $48.29 at expiration…
by phil - August 7th, 2012 8:30 am
GRANDPA JOE: But this roof is made of glass. It’ll shatter into a thousand pieces. We’ll be cut to ribbons!
WILLY WONKA: Probably.
Is today going to be the day? After pressing against our breakout levels on and off since failing them in May, today do we should finally have the gas to get over the top or will our Must Hold levels keep acting like a solid barrier? Our goals on the Big Chart have been Dow 13,200, S&P 1,400, Nas 3,000, NYSE 8,000 and Russell 800 and we came right up against them yesterday but failed to punch through.
It is certainly no surprise, in this BS manipulated market, that the levels they failed to take out yesterday in regular trading are all being crossed in ultra-light pre-market trading because, as we know, investors are complete idiots who use squiggly lines on a chart to make all of their major financial decisions. Essentially, when you follow TA – you are saying to hedge fund managers – "If you can get your stock to cross this line, I will buy it." That's very much like me saying to my youngest daughter that if she can get her older sister to say "quit it," I will give her $20. Once she decides I'm serious – I'd be hearing "quit it" all day long.
We were, at the time, at the top of a very bogus-looking, low-volume rally (again) that had taken us up 7.5% from 12,100 in early June to 13,187 at yesterday's high. The S&P has been our leader but the Russell keeps flashing warning signs as it failed to hold it's -2.5% line (780) at the beginning of the month and looking very similar to the pre-disaster pattern we had in April, ahead of the May collapse – which we also tried to warn you about while it was on the way up on QE rumors (see "Federally Fueled Thursday – QE Maybe?" or "Thank GDP it's Friday – Reality Check?". Despite being dead right to call a top at the time – it took the market another week to drop but we fell off a cliff on Friday, May 4th and we were down 1,000 points by the 18th so better a week early than a week late with these calls.
Willy Wonka understood stock market physics, there…
by phil - July 27th, 2012 8:02 am
You made me promises promises
You knew you'd never keep
Why do I believe
All of your promises
You knew you'd never keep – Naked Eyes
Wow – what a party!
The former Vice-Chairman of Goldman Sachs (Draghi) says everything is fixed and the global markets go flying – what's not to trust? Would anyone form GS ever lie to us? Would GS be involved in manipulating the Global Markets – of course not!
Now that I've fulfilled my obligation to get my mother back unharmed – let's get real. Draghi said the violent spike in bond yields in recent days was hampering "the functioning of the monetary policy transmission channels" – the EXACT expression used to justify each of the ECB's previous market interventions.
Yields on Spanish two-year debt plunged 72 basis points to 5.47% in barely an hour, with comparable moves on Italian debt – easing the pressure before a string of debt auctions in Rome over coming days. The MIB index of stocks in Milan surged by 5.6%. Madrid's IBEX rose 6%, the biggest jump in two years, led by an explosive rise in bank shares. Mr Draghi's comments came as Spain claimed backing from France and Germany for activation of the eurozone's rescue fund (EFSF) to buy Spanish bonds, though this would require calling the Bundestag's finance committee back from holiday for a vote. Action by the EFSF would provide "political cover" for the ECB to join the fray in a two-pronged attack. "We're firing on all cylinders: that is what has ignited the markets," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at Morgan Stanley.
Joint statements from Madrid, Paris and Berlin said market turbulence "does not reflect the fundamentals of the Spanish economy, or the sustainability of its public debt". According to Ambrose Pritchard, "the wording seems scripted to clear the way for intervention." Of course, now it's time to put up or shut up as the Fed meets next week and the ECB has their pre-holiday meeting next week as well…
by phil - March 9th, 2012 7:53 am
The Greek debt crisis is over!
Again. Well, for now. Despite the "voluntary" participation of 85% of the debt-holders, collective action clauses (CAC) will be triggered to force other bondholders and a similar action in Argentina led to 10 years of lawsuits – so we have that to look forward to. "The rule of law has been treated with contempt," said Marc Ostwald from Monument Securities. "This will lead to litigation for the next ten years. It has become a massive impediment for long-term investors, and people will now be very wary about Spain and Portugal."
“Even if we band aid this Greek situation right now, they’re going to default down the road or write down 100 percent of the debt,” said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.
Now the European Commission has sent a team of experts to Spain to check its budget deficit data, according to Spanish website Expansion, and they will be greeted by a National Strike, scheduled for March 29th, to protest the austerity measures the EU is trying to enforce. Greek bonds are already passing the 20% mark again so this "fix" has lasted all of a few hours and already we're seeing rates creep up in Italy, Spain and Portugal (Ireland can't even borrow money – at any price) and part of the reason is they just blatantly screwed over the last batch of bondholders and Credit Default Swaps have now been revealed as completely useless tools to protect bond investments – and part of the reason is Uncle Sam needs to borrow a record $227Bn to pay the bills for February alone:
While the above chart may look like a catastrophe to a casual observer, especially considering February is the shortest month of the year – others may be cheered by the thought that the US will never actually have to pay this money back, as Greece has now shown us all that the path to default is celebrated by global markets climbing to record highs. So, if Greece's $450Bn default can get us to Dow 13,000 – imagine what the US's $16Tn default will do – I can't wait!
We are waiting for the jobs report this morning but according to the Gallup poll, there aren't any. Gallup sees 9.1% unemployment in February, up…
by Option Review - March 8th, 2012 2:29 pm
Today’s tickers: SBUX, CCL & ZION
SBUX - Starbucks Corp. – Fresh record highs may be on the horizon for Starbucks Corp., according to some strategists populating the coffee retailer’s options this morning. The stock today reached its highest level since the Company’s IPO in 1992, rallying 2.5% to $50.75 in the first half of the trading session. Options on Starbucks are more active than usual today ahead of the Company’s announced 5:00 p.m. (PT) conference call to discuss a new initiative in the single-cup serving category. Bullish positions are building in the front month calls, with more than 3,800 contracts changing hands at the Mar. $52.5 strike against open interest of 146 contracts. It looks like most of the $52.5 calls were purchased for an average premium of $0.12 a-pop, positioning buyers to profit at expiration next week in the event that Starbucks shares increase another 3.7% to top the average breakeven price of $52.62. Volume in the April $52.5 and July $52.5 strike calls is on the rise, as well. Buyers of the options this morning paid average premiums of $0.65 and $1.90 apiece, respectively, eyeing the stock’s upside potential over the next several months. Meanwhile, traders dabbling in SBUX puts may be locking in gains and establishing downside protection, or are perhaps taking outright bearish positions on the coffee company in the view that shares may cool in the near term.
CCL - Carnival Corp. – Options on Carnival Corp. are humming with activity this morning ahead of the cruise operator’s first-quarter earnings report on Friday before the open. Shares in CCL are up 1.6% today at $30.91 heading into earnings. The stock got off to a good start in 2012, rising up to $35.14 – the highest since the end of October – back on…
by Option Review - January 23rd, 2012 1:48 pm
Today’s tickers: HD, LVS, SBUX & NRG
HD - Home Depot, Inc. – The home improvement retailer’s shares have been on fire during the most recent six month period, with the stock last week soaring to $45.50 – the highest level in nearly a decade – on the heels of a more than 55.0% rally since August. A sizable ratio put spread initiated on Home Depot this morning may be the work of an investor hedging a long position in the shares, or, alternatively, an outright bearish stance looking for shares to pull back somewhat ahead of May expiration. Home Depot was cut to ‘Hold’ from ‘Buy’ at Edward Jones over the weekend and shares in the name today trade 0.95% lower on the session at $44.09 just before 12:00 p.m. in New York. It looks like the put player purchased around 2,500 puts at the May $42 strike for an average premium of $1.54 each and sold 5,000 puts at the lower May $38 strike at an average premium of $0.72 apiece. Average net premium paid to initiate the ratio spread amounts to $0.10 per contract, thus implying profits or downside protection kick in if shares in HD decline 5.0% to breach the effective breakeven point on the downside at $41.90. Maximum potential profits of $3.90 per contract are available on the position if the price of the underlying drops 13.8% from the current price of $44.09 to settle at $38.00 at expiration. The sale of twice as many of the lower-strike put options greatly reduces the cost of downside protection, which may insulate a longer-term HD optimist from losses in the stock’s value given the potential for a broad market correction or disappointing company-specific news to weigh on the shares ahead of May expiration. Home Depot is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell on February 21.…
by Option Review - November 4th, 2011 1:25 pm
Today’s tickers: SBUX, SYY, GS & ADS
SBUX - Starbucks Corp. – Shares in Starbucks reached their highest since the company’s 1992 IPO on Friday, following the release of better-than-anticipated third-quarter earnings from the Seattle, Washington-based coffee shop operator after the closing bell on Thursday. Starbucks Corp.’s shares earlier rose as much as 7.95% to an intraday high of $44.69. While SBUX shares may be high as a kite post-earnings, options traders appear to be coming down ahead of the weekend. Call selling and put buying in the November contract today may be a sign some strategists are taking profits, locking in gains or possibly positioning for shares to cool in the near term. Put players focused on the Nov. $41 strike, where more than 7,000 contracts changed hands against open interest of 3,279 positions. It looks like much of the volume was printed by buyers of the bearish options at an average premium of $0.44 apiece. Put buyers may profit at November expiration if shares in the world’s largest coffee-shop operator tumble 9.25% to breach the average breakeven price of $40.56. Another 1,500 put options appear to have been purchased at the lower Nov. $39 strike at an average premium of $0.17 a-pop. As for SBUX calls, selling was more prevalent than buying at each strike from the Nov. $42 strike call up through the Nov. $46 strike call. The Nov. $45 strike call is most active, with upwards of 3,600 contracts in play against 2,727 lots of open interest. It looks like investors sold around 1,600 of these calls to pocket premium of $0.59 each. Investors may be taking profits off the table or betting against the likelihood that SBUX shares will continue to hit fresh highs ahead of expiration in two weeks. Options implied volatility on Starbucks Corp. is lower by 9.5% to arrive at 34.6% following earnings.
SYY - Sysco Corp. – Though trading in Sysco Corp. options is mixed this morning, one aspect of the activity is consistent, investors are positioning for the price of the underlying to move following the company’s first-quarter earnings report ahead of the opening bell on Monday. Traders are snapping up both call and put options on the largest North American distributor of food in anticipation of near-term bullish or bearish movement in the price of the stock. Options implied volatility on the stock is running 22.4% higher on the day at 29.65% as…