PFE - Pfizer, Inc. – Shares in the world’s largest drug maker are up sharply on Tuesday, trading 3% higher on the session at $27.65 as of 11:10 a.m. ET, the highest level in more than five years. Pfizer’s shares are rallying after the company posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell and forecast2013 earnings above analyst estimates. The stock has gained more than 17.5% since mid-November. Heavy trading traffic in Pfizer call options this morning suggests traders are positioning for shares in the name to extend gains during the next couple of months. February expiry calls are changing hands at a clip, with notable volume exceeding open interest at the Feb. $28 strike price. Most of the Feb. $28 calls in play appear to have been purchased for an average premium of $0.08 each. Meanwhile, the single-largest print in PFE call options, a block of 24,500 contracts, traded at the Mar. $28 striking price. It looks like one strategist purchased the call options at a premium of $0.17 each during the first 20 minutes of the trading day. Overall call volume at the Mar. $28 strike exceeds 28,500 contracts as of 11:30 a.m. ET, trumping open interest of 9,870 contracts. Traders long the upside calls stand ready to profit at March expiration should Pfizer’s shares increase another 2.0% to surpass the breakeven point at $28.17.
DFS - Discover Financial Services, Inc. – Bearish options on credit card issuer and electronic payment services provider, Discover Financial Services, are active this morning with shares in the name trading 0.5% lower on the session at $37.87 as of 11:35 a.m. ET. March expiry put options are the most actively traded contracts on Discover today, with upwards of 9,400 lots in play at the $37 strike versus open interest of just 33 contracts. It looks like one or more traders purchased the bulk of the volume for an average premium of $0.91 each. Put buyers may profit at expiration in six weeks in the event that shares in DFS slump nearly…
LZ - Lubrizol Corp. – It looks like a well-timed bullish bet on Lubrizol Corp. initiated in April contract calls less than one week ago paid off big time for one options strategist following the announcement of Berkshire Hathaway’s $9 billion acquisition of the specialty-chemicals company this morning. Shares in Lubrizol Corp. shot up as much as 27.3% during the session to hit an intraday and all-time high of $134.20, which is just 80 pennies shy of the $135.00 a share deal reported today. Options volume on the stock is heaviest at the April $110 strike where one trader appears to have raked profits in off of the table within the first 20 minutes of the opening bell. Open interest patterns at that strike suggest around 2,650 calls were picked up for an average premium of $2.35 per contract back on March 9, 2011, when shares in the Lubrizol closed the session at a $106.55. The purchase of the calls, which were the closest-to-the-money contracts available at the time of the transaction, cost the investor around $622,750. Since then, news of the deal with Berkshire Hathaway sent shares in the chemical company soaring, driving up the value of the now deep in-the-money April $110 call options. It looks like the investor sold the 2,650 calls this morning at a premium of $23.90 per contract. Net profits on the sale amount to $21.55 per contract, or a grand total of $5,710,750. Lubrizol’s overall reading of options implied volatility came crashing down today, and currently stands 88.3% lower at 3.75% as of 11:35am in New York.
AFL - Aflac, Inc. – Shares in the U.S.-based insurance provider, which provides health and life insurance to a large portion of the Japanese population, fell 3.80% to $53.44 by 1:00pm in New York trading. The stock earlier declined more than 6.0% to touch down at an intraday low of $52.12. Investors bracing for further bearish movement in Aflac’s shares picked up April $50 strike…
NEM – Newmont Mining Corp. – Shares of the gold mining company are up 2.90% to $51.74 this afternoon as gold stocks across the board rallied along with the price of the previous metal. Newmont’s shares recovered significantly since reaching a low point for the year 2010 of $42.87 back on January 29, 2010. The current price per NEM share of $51.74 represents an impressive 20.65% rally over its January low of $42.87. One options trader populating our screens today expects the good times at Newmont Mining to continue through March expiration. The investor purchased a debit call spread by picking up 5,000 calls at the March $55 strike for a premium of $0.52 apiece, marked against the sale of 5,000 calls at the higher March $57.5 strike for $0.17 each. The net cost of the transaction amounts to $0.36 per contract. The trader is prepared to pocket maximum potential profits of $2.14 per contract should Newmont’s shares rally another 11.15% to $57.50 by expiration day. Shares of the underlying stock must increase at least 7% from the current price in order for the call-spreader to breakeven on the trade at $55.36 per share.
EWZ – iShares MSCI Brazil Index ETF – Bearish options positioning on the Brazil exchange-traded fund, which generally reflects the price and yield performance of securities in the Brazilian market as measured by the MSCI Brazil index, indicates one investor is bracing for a pull back in the price of the underlying shares by April expiration. Shares of the underlying fund are trading 1.85% higher to $70.97 with approximately forty-five minutes remaining in the session. The trader sold 10,000 calls at the April $72 strike for a premium of $2.55 apiece in order to partially offset the cost of purchasing 10,000 put options at the lower April $70 strike for $2.73 each. The investor paid a net premium of $0.18 per contract for the bearish risk reversal transaction. The pessimistic play yields profits to the trader if shares of the EWZ trade beneath the breakeven price of $69.82 ahead of expiration in April. We note that shares traded as low as $62.79 on February 8, 2010, and failed to rally above $70.00 until the current session’s breakout.
ZION – Zions Bancorp. – A bullish options player celebrated the 2.80% rally in ZION’s share…
I’ve been a long time investor in the solar space (circa late 06) and one thing that has really irked me over the years is the complete lack of differentiation. Much like the market as a whole nowadays, its "all or nothing" in this space. The one exception has been First Solar (FSLR) – an American "thin film" (different technology than most solar companies) producer. The Chinese names have especially all been thrown together in one pot and when its time to run up solar, they all go up together (in varying degrees) and when solar is out of favor they all get pole axed. Hence doing any due diligence is really a waste of time.
Yingli Green Energy (YGE) and a company that has cost me many real (and virtual) dollars over the years, Trina Solar (TSL) are 2 of the Chinese solar markets with good size, and the most integrated production models. This should have differentiated them over the years – but as I said above, not in American investors eyes. We like "big easy to understand, sweeping themes" – i.e. oil up, solar good. And that’s as comprehensive as it seems to get.
We are seeing some nice action in both these names today, on the back of an analyst report which is alluding to the advantages the two companies have. Now that silicon (which is the main cost component on the material side) has swooned after bottlenecks plagued the industry for 3+ years, the other main cost is labor. And you are not going to compete with the Chinese on labor costs…
Both Trina Solar (TSL) and Yingli Green Energy(YGE) shares are trading higher today following upgrades by Morgan Stanley analyst Sunil Gupta. He thinks both companies are going to take market share in the solar sector from U.S.-based and European rivals. Here are the details
There are no free financial markets in America, or for that matter anywhere in the Western word, and few, if any, free markets of any other kind. The financial markets are rigged by the big banks, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury in the interests of the profits of the few big banks and the dollar’s exchange value, which is the basis of US power.
There is a contradiction between a strong currency on one hand and on the other hand massive money creation in order to sustain zero and negative interest rates on the massive debt levels. ...
Everywhere I go I’m asked, “Will there be inflation or deflation? Are we in a bull or bear market? Is the bond bull market over and will interest rates rise?”
The flippant answer to all those questions is “Yes.” And that can be the correct answer as well, but it depends on what your time frame is and what tools you use to measure the markets and inflation. One of the newer members of the Mauldin Economics team is Jawad Mian, who writes a powerful global macro letter from his base in Dubai. He has been making the case for the “end of the deflation trade” (or more properly the return of a reflationary period) and the knock-on effects that would cause. Longtime readers know that I am in the secular defla...
The tug of war between the bulls and bears has created an unusual situation this year, a historically tight trading range! The chart below reflects that the Dow Jones has traded within a 6.68% high to low trading range this year. That is the 4th tightest trading range through May, in the past 115 years.
CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE
The inset table to the right looks at future performance of the Dow following narrow trading ranges through May. As you can see, most of the time the market has ended the year to the upside. Will it be different this time?
Wednesday’s action was almost a 180 degree turn from Tuesday’s with the S&P 500 up 0.92% and the NASDAQ 1.47%. Sone vague belief in (yet another) resolution in Greece seemed to be the catalyst. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday the negotiations are on the “final stretch” towards a positive deal, Reuters reported. Later in the day, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said there was not much progress in the Greek debt talks and he was surprised by the upbeat tone from some Greek government officials. Athens must make a 300 million euro payment to the International Monetary Fund on June 5, ahead of several other payments due to the IMF later in the month, for a total of 1.6 billion euros.
We’ll see if yesterday’s move was the head fake or today’s was shortly.
Early last week, stocks broke out, with the S&P 500 setting a new high with blue skies overhead. But then the market basically flat-lined for the rest of the week as bulls just couldn’t gather the fuel and conviction to take prices higher. In fact, the technical picture now has turned a bit defensive, at least for the short term, thus joining what has been a neutral-to-defensive tilt to our fundamentals-based Outlook rankings.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-ranked stocks from the t...
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Understanding the new normal of a business model is key to the success of any company. The managment of companies need to adapt to the changing demand, but first they must recognize what changes are taking place. Big Pharma's business model is changing rapidly, and much like the airline industry, there will be but a handful of pharma companies left at the end of this path.
Most Big Pharma companies have traditionally done everything from research and development (R&D) through to commercialisation themselves. Research was proprietary, and diseases were cherry picked on the back of academic research that was done using NIH grants. This was in the heyday of research, where multiple companies had drugs for the same target (Mevocor, Zocor, Crestor, Lipitor), and could reap the rewards on multiple scales. However, in the c...
Bitcoin, the virtual digital currency, has been called the future of banking, a dangerous fad, and almost everything in between, but we're finally about to get some solid data to help settle the debate.
On Monday, the Nasdaq (NDAQ) stock exchange said it would ...
Chris Kimble likes the idea of shorting the US dollar if it bounces higher. Phil's likes the dollar better long here. These views are not inconsistent, actually, the dollar could bounce and drop again. We'll be watching.
Phil writes: If the Fed begins to tighten OR if Greece defaults OR if China begins to fall apart OR if Japan begins to unwind, then the Dollar could move 10% higher. Without any of those things happening – you still have the Fed pursuing a relatively stronger currency policy than the rest of the G8. So, if anything, I think the pressure should be up, not down.
UNLESS that 95 line does ultimately fail (as opposed to this being bullish consolidation at the prior breakout point), then I'd prefer to sell the UUP Jan $25 puts for $0.85 and buy the Sept $24 call...
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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