by Option Review - February 6th, 2013 1:01 pm
by Option Review - June 6th, 2012 2:05 pm
Today’s tickers: LULU, MFRM & SU
LULU - Lululemon Athletica, Inc. – Options on the athletic apparel retailer are changing hands at a feverish pace today ahead of Lululemon’s first-quarter earnings report prior to the opening bell on Thursday morning. Shares in the provider of high-end yoga pants and stylish gym accessories are off their intraday peak, but continue to trade 1.5% higher on the session at $71.76 as of 1:00 p.m. in New York. Roughly half of the 43,000 contracts in play on LULU in the first half of the session are part of a large spread in the June expiry. One strategist established a bear put spread ahead of the earnings report, perhaps to protect a long position in the underlying shares against adverse moves in the price of the underlying. Most of the 10,000 lot June $60/$67.5 put spread traded on the Amex and was purchased for a premium of $1.30 per contract. The spread establishes downside protection beneath a breakeven share price of $66.20 and extends down to $60.00. Shares in LULU would need to plunge 16.4% after earnings in order for the stock breach the $60.00 level. Lululemon’s shares are up nearly 50.0% year-to-date and last traded below $60.00 back on January 20, 2012.
MFRM - Mattress Firm, Inc. – Bullish bets in Mattress Firm options cropped up today despite the near 25.0% post-earnings plunge in shares of the mattress retailer to an intraday low of $26.70. Shares in Mattress Firm dropped on lower-than-anticipated first-quarter revenue and a reduced sales forecast for the second quarter, but some traders appear to be positioning for MFRM’s shares to recoup losses during the second half of the year. Near-term bulls picked up around 120 calls at the June $30 strike for an average premium of $1.11 apiece, while longer-dated Oct. $30 strike calls were purchased some 150 times at an average premium of $3.38 each. Call buyers in the front month stand ready…
by Phil Davis - April 30th, 2012 7:55 am
Is this time going to be different?
Sure, why not? Don't let the fact that we had pretty nasty sell-offs the last 4 Mays dissuade you from being gung-ho bullish into this one – after all – it takes bulls and bears to make a market, doesn't it?
We've been prone to focusing on the negative lately – mostly because the positive is pretty much all you hear in the Corporate Media and we like to have balance. If they were too bearish, I'd make a bullish case but this weekend we focused on "Money, Power and Wall Street," and the deteriorating Global situation, which got no better this morning with Spain's -0.3% GDP Report, Eurozone Inflation above forecasts at 2.6%, the S&P downgrading 16 Spanish Banks, California's Tax Collections are running 26% behind schedule, gasoline is hitting record highs in Europe while Business Investment in Europe drops BELOW the 2008 lows:
Should we be concerned? Why should we be – look how high the market is! Doesn't that prove that everything is OK? It sure proved it in October of 2007, when the Dow was at 14,000 and it was still proving it on Monday, May 19th, 2008 – when the Dow was at 13,028 for the last time until March 13th of this year, when 200-point one-day pop sent us all the way to 13,177. We topped out around and fell all the way to 12,700 a month later but now we're back and THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT, right?
For one thing, the SNB spent $4.1Bn propping up the Euro in Q1 – that's a lot of money for a country whose entire GDP is just $500Bn! Fortunately for the Swiss, their insane money printing did cause their gold holdings to rise by $1.2Bn so their net loss in manipulating the Global economy was "only" $2.8Bn so I'm sure they can sustain this farce for another quarter or two if they wish.
Farce is too kind a description for the fraud being perpetrated by the Central Banksters, according to the Economic Policy Journal's Bob Wenzel, what had this to say in his speech to the NY Fed last week (the whole speech is a must read):
Under Chairman Bernanke there have been significant changes in direction
by Phil Davis - April 4th, 2012 8:38 am
I hate to say I told you so but…
Oh, who are we kidding? I could not be happier saying I told you so and neither could our Members as our "Sell in March and Go Away" strategy seems to have hit the nail on the head – and it's only April 4th!
Back then (2/24), we were still bullish but the plan was to let the rally run its course and cash out ahead of earnings and our plays from that Wednesday (2/22) which I posted right in the morning post for all to see, have performed very well, of course.
We had April SQQQ and DXD hedges that failed, of course, but those were paid for by the short sale of AAPL 2014 $300 puts for $15, which are already $10.75, so up 28% already on those pays for a lot of protection.
Another offset we had looked at was the short sale of FDX April $80 puts at $1.10, which expired worthless (up 100%). We also looked at longer-term put sales on SKX, with the Oct $12 puts fetching $1.55 per contract, now $1.25 (up 19%), and the T 2014 $25 puts at $2.15, now $1.75 (up 18%).
Along the same vein, the XOM 2014 $65 puts at $5, now $4.05 (up 19%) were sold to pay for the SU 2014 $25/37 bull call spread for $6 for net $1 on the spread. The bull call spread is still $6 but that's net $1.95 now – up 95% on the combo. Our other bullish play on oil was the USO June $40/46 bull call spread at $2, selling he SCO Oct $26 puts for $3 for a net $1 credit. The USO spread has fallen to $1.40 but the short SCO puts dropped to $1.65 a net gain of .75 – up a quick 75% on a fairly neutral oil play, which was BRILLIANT as it covered many, many of our aggressive oil shorts over the month that went VERY well.
Our other trade ideas from the morning post (and the logic and strategies are detailed in the post):
- AA 2014 $10 puts sold for $2, still $2 – even
- X at $28.49, selling Jan $25 calls for $8.50 and 2014 $20 puts for $2.95 for net $17.04/18.52
by Phil Davis - March 14th, 2012 8:10 am
Yesterday, we talked about the BS that is Fox News.
Ironically, some of the "news" outlets that generally carry my articles (who's names shall be protected because they are wimps) decided it was too controversial for their readers so we know that's not a topic we're allowed to discuss in America, for fear of being black-listed. Today we'll see if we can make it a two-fer in the Bracket of Evil, as I have a juicy resignation letter from Greg Smith of Goldman Sachs (thanks Rev Todd), who is no small player, but the head of the firm's US Equity Derivative Business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Just a couple of excerpts:
I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.
What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.
I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail.
by Phil Davis - March 2nd, 2012 8:18 am
Oil shot up to $110.55 yesterday.
The news was that a pipeline in Saudi Arabia had been attacked and oil had been running up all day into this "news," which, funnily enough, turned out to be fake. We caught the news at 3:05 in Member Chat (thanks Kustomz) and we had been waiting for oil to stop going up so we could short it. The turn came at the $110.50 in the Futures (/CL) and we caught a nice run down to $109 and I reiterated, at 3:36, with oil still at $109.88 my love for the USO April $40 puts, which were $1.08 at the time and finished the day at $1.15.
As Malsg pointed out in Member Chat: "The pictures of the fire are taken in daylight … but Saudi sunset was several hours ago … the oil market only stared going nuts after the close." A very good observation that gave us the resolve to stay short on oil – which is working out fantastically this morning as well.
We also grabbed an aggressive short spread on BNO, as it seemed the whole day's run had been BS, with traders in the know stocking up ahead of the fake news so they could unload barrels into the retail suckers who bought into the spike. Don't worry though – no one who bought oil up from $105 on Thursday to $109 ahead of the news will be arrested or even questioned – we'll just keep pretending the total farce of oil trading is a legitimate pricing mechanism, even though it costs people around the world hundreds of Billions of Dollars each year in excess charges (see "Goldman's Global Oil Scam Passes the 50 Madoff Mark").
Now, this is the part where I would usually point out how the economy is weaker than we think etc. but I'm not going to do that this morning because the S&P still over 1,360 and, if a stronger Dollar isn't going to stop this rally – nothing will. Even yesterday, I joked to Members that I wasn't going to highlight negative news items in red anymore as there was no such thing as bad news in this market.
As you can see from David Fry's SPY chart, we''re back testing the bottom of that channel today and, if we don't break down here, then we can…
by Phil Davis - February 22nd, 2012 6:27 am
We're still waiting for a clear signal.
The S&P is finally over our 1,359 level but, so far, has not stayed over that line for a full session and we need two sessions over the line to confirm it. However, I did promise not to be bearish if we're over 1,360 and I think I got it all out of my system in the last few posts, as well as last night and this morning's Member Chat, where I outlined my case for for the oil glut and the collapse of the EU, which will lead to the collapse of Asia and the US – but not today.
Today there is a ton of money sloshing around in the system and we are clearly in a massive technical rally, which may (or may not) end at any moment. We discussed our February trade ideas from our morning posts on Monday's morning so I won't rehash them here but I do want to take a look at ways to leverage some trades to take full advantage of this non-stop rally as we have VERY CLEAR stop lines (our 10% lines) where we'll have a clear signal to get out or cover if ANY of the major indexes fail.
As with our early February trade ideas, we can add one more bullish trade each day that we're over the line and cash out the older trades that go well in the money and, of course, accumulate some Disaster Hedges (20-30% of your unrealized profits into protective hedges is a good rule of thumb as well as the cheapest form of protection – STOPS!).
My favorite disaster hedges are playing for a correction in the Dow or the Nasdaq which, if you are a Dow Theorist, would seem very likely based on the chart on the left but, so far, nothing matters to the bulls – who have their story and they are sticking to it – regardless of those pesky facts. Sorry, that's a bit bearish (bad habit). Anyway, my favorite disaster hedges are:
SQQQ April $13/17 bull call spread for .70. This trade has a 471% upside potential by itself if SQQQ (currently $13.14) gains 30% by April expiration (58 days). That's a lot but SQQQ is a 3x ultra-short to the Nasdaq so a 10% drop in the Nas, back to 2,650…
by Option Review - February 25th, 2010 4:06 pm
Today’s tickers: USO, SU, DTV, AIG, CCE, PMCS & TRLG
USO – United States Oil Fund LP – Despite a stronger dollar so far during 2010 the price of crude oil has rebounded smartly and spent some time this week trading above $80 per barrel. Today’s sudden bout of risk aversion knocking equity prices running for cover has created fears of lower oil prices ahead according to options activity today. Investors targeted downside protection as they snapped up more than 10,000 put options reserving rights to sell shares in the fund that mimics the price of crude before expiration in March. Investors chose the fixed strike price of $36.00 to lock into selling rights compared to the fund’s share price of $37.67 – down 3.4% already today. Investors forced the premium of the put options from 45 cents to as high as 59 cents throughout the morning. It appears that today’s activity is fresh investor activity since it exceeds the number of open positions as of the close of business on Wednesday, while the volume also represents more than 20% of overall options volume today.
SU – Suncor Energy, Inc. – Despite the nearby bearish overture for the fortunes of crude oil prices, a decent-sized bullish options transaction was established on the Canadian energy company. Undeterred by a 3% decline in Suncor Energy’s share price to $28.24, one investor initiated a debit call spread in the June contract to position for a sharp rebound in Suncor’s share price by expiration in four months. The trader purchased 10,500 calls at the June $31 strike for a premium of $1.26 apiece, and sold the same number of calls at the higher June $36 strike for a premium of $0.30 each. The net cost of the spread amounts to $0.96 per contract. Maximum available profits of $4.04 per contract accumulate for the bullish trader if Suncor’s shares rally approximately 27.5% from the current value of the stock to $36.00 by June expiration. We note that shares traded as high as $38.22 on January 6, 2010.
DTV – The DIRECTV Group, Inc. – Covered-call selling is the theme of the day in Directv options trading as it appears investors are picking up shares of the underlying stock while simultaneously shedding out-of-the-money calls in the June contract. Shares of the provider of subscription television services slipped 0.90% during the session to $33.30. Approximately 25,300 calls…
by Option Review - February 4th, 2010 5:21 pm
Today’s tickers: EWZ, CVX, WFC, GFI, SU, MA, ZION, DAL, AMAG & JWN
EWZ – iShares MSCI Brazil Index ETF – An iron condor options strategy employed in the February contract on the EWZ implies one investor expects the underlying share price of the fund to stagnate ahead of expiration in two weeks. Shares of the exchange-traded fund, which generally correspond to the price and performance of publicly traded securities in the Brazilian market, are down 5% today to $64.37. Today’s decline merely adds salt to the wounds – The Brazil index ETF has taken a severe beating in the past few months, falling 20.5% since attaining a 52-week high of $80.93 back on December 3, 2009. The iron condor, a strategy utilized by option traders anticipating little movement in the underlying share price, is perhaps one investor’s way of indicating the worst is over and a bottom is close at hand. The iron condor’s construction is essentially the combination of two strangles, or alternatively can be thought of as two credit spreads. On the call side, the investor pockets a net credit of $0.09 per contract by selling 10,000 calls at the February $71 strike for $0.13 apiece, spread against the purchase of 10,000 calls at the higher February $74 strike for $0.04 each. As for the puts, the trader receives a net credit of $0.26 per contract on the sale of 10,000 puts at the February $59 strike for $0.44 each, marked against the purchase of 10,000 puts at the lower February $56 strike for $0.18 apiece. Therefore, the combined credit enjoyed on the iron condor amounts to $0.35 per contract. Maximum retention of the $0.35 credit, or total monetary profits of $350,000, is contingent upon the underlying share price at expiration. EWZ shares must trade within a range of $59.00 to $71.00 in order for the investor to walk away with maximum profits. The investor holding the iron condor is exposed to significant losses if his ‘neutral’ prediction is wrong. Maximum loss potential on the transaction of $2.65 per contract is far greater than the $0.35 credit received for undertaking such risk. But, apparently this trader is confident that shares of the underlying stock will move sideways – at least through February expiration. Perhaps this confidence stems from the fact that losses do not amass to the upside unless shares rebound 10.85% to surpass the upper breakeven…
by Option Review - February 2nd, 2010 5:28 pm
Today’s tickers: VIX, MS, BAC, UNG, SU, RL, GIGM, FCX, CVS, SPF & DOW
VIX – CBOE Volatility Index – A massive bearish put position initiated on the VIX today is a bullish sign for the S&P 500 index. The VIX fell more than 6% during the current session to stand at 21.21 as the past two day’s uptick in equities serve to dissipate some of the fear and uncertainty felt by investors during the prior trading week. One investor anticipating further downside movement for the VIX picked up roughly 103,000 puts at the March 20 strike for an average premium of $0.70 per contract. The put options position the investor to accrue profits beneath a VIX reading of 19.30 through expiration. It appears the investor expects the so-called fear-gauge to head in the direction of the index’s 52-week low of approximately 17.49 attained on January 19, 2010. But, the VIX must fall another 9% from the current reading in order for the investor to breakeven by expiration. Furthermore, today’s reading is still 21.25% greater than the 52-week low described previously.
MS – Morgan Stanley – Global financial services firm, Morgan Stanley, attracted the attention of bullish options investors in afternoon trading. Shares are currently trading 1.00% higher at $27.83 with roughly one hour remaining in the trading day. A bull call spread stuck out like a sore thumb in the scantily populated March contract on the stock today. One investor purchased 5,000 calls at the March $28 strike for a premium of $1.35 each, and sold the same number of calls at the higher March $31 strike for an average premium of $0.34 apiece. The trader paid a net premium of $1.01 per contract for the spread, but stands to accrue maximum potential profits of $1.99 per contract should Morgan Stanley’s shares rally up to $31.00 ahead of expiration day. The call-spreader breaks even on the transaction as long as MS’s shares rise 4.25% from the current price to $29.01 before the options expire.
BAC – Bank of America Corp. – Optimistic sentiment on Bank of America appeared in the August contract today amidst a 0.65% improvement in shares of the underlying stock to $15.52. One bullish trader initiated a call spread to position for upward movement in BAC’s shares by expiration. The investor purchased 4,000 calls at the August $16 strike for an average premium of $1.52 apiece,…