by Phil Davis - August 30th, 2010 8:22 am
It’s another busy Monday for M&A activity.
SNY announced a $18.5Bn CASH offer for GENZ ($69/share), INTC buy’s INNNY’s wireless unit for $1.4Bn in CASH and DELL and HPQ are still in a bidding war over PAR (and HPQ thinks their own shares are so cheap they are buying back $10Bn worth of them). The biggest winner in this weekend’s acquisition game is – ME! I live in northern NJ and, with the merger of CAL and UAUA going through, Continental is forced to diffuse some of their concentration at Newark airport and that ends up giving LUV 18 slots, bringing some much-needed additional competition to Newark, which has been pretty much dominated by Continental for years. LUV is a great buy at $11.13 and a fun way to play is the Jan $10/11 bull call spread at .60, selling the Jan $10 puts for .55, which is net .05 on the $1 spread with a 1,900% upside and your worst-case scenario is you own LUV at net $10.05 – what’s not to LUV?
Speaking of diffused concentration, the Glenn Beck rally was a bit of a disappointment with just 87,000 people showing up (Fox had a permit for 300,000 and keeps using that number as if that’s how many came while Beck himself has been claiming between 300,000 and 650,000 were there and Michele Backmann (R-Minn) claims it was the biggest rally ever held in Washington, with no fewer than 1M people in attendance). This has now backfired on Beck, Palin and the Tea Party as a "show of strength" becomes a show of apathy (to the people who can count, anyway) - it probably would have been smarter to hold the rally next weekend but Fox wanted to time the rally for the start of Jon Stewart’s vacation, although it didn’t stop him from commenting in absentia (where I hear Jon has a lovely bungalow). For a more "fair and balanced" view of the rally, see the very nice coverage from Reason TV.
During an interview on "Fox News Sunday," which was filmed after Saturday’s rally, Beck claimed that Obama "is a guy who understands the world through liberation theology, which is oppressor-and-victim – People aren’t recognizing his version of Christianity," Beck added. Beck’s attacks represent a continuing attempt to characterize Obama as a radical, an approach that has prompted anxiety among some Republicans,…
by Option Review - April 15th, 2010 4:48 pm
Today’s tickers: QCOM, KBE, XRT, GE, BAC, F, UPS, UAUA & NTRI
QCOM – Qualcomm, Inc. – The manufacturer of digital wireless telecommunications products and services received a vote of confidence by one optimistic options investor who purchased a debit call spread in the July contract today. Qualcomm’s shares rallied 0.55% in late afternoon trading to stand at $42.84 as of 2:45 pm (ET). The trader initiated the call spread by purchasing 4,000 lots at the July $46 strike for a premium of $1.00 each, marked against the sale of 4,000 calls at the higher July $49 strike for $0.37 apiece. Net premium paid for the bullish play amounts to $0.63 per contract, thus positioning the investor to amass maximum potential profits of $2.37 per contract should Qualcomm’s shares rally 14.4% over the current value of the stock to $49.00 by expiration day in July. The parameters of the transaction suggest the responsible party hopes Qualcomm’s share price shifts toward the stock’s current 52-week high of $49.80, attained back on January 8, 2010, in the next several months to expiration.
KBE – SPDR KBW Bank ETF – Shares of the SPDR KBW Bank fund, which replicates the performance of the KBW Bank Index, slipped 0.75% during the course of the trading day to stand at $28.18 with 35 minutes remaining in the session. Earlier today, one investor pocketed a net credit by selling a large chunk of call options spread against the purchase of put contracts. The trader sold 28,260 calls at the May $29 strike for a premium of $0.58 each, and purchased the same number of puts at the lower May $27 strike for $0.40 apiece. A net credit of $0.18 per contract pads the investor’s wallet as long as shares of the underlying fund trade below $29.00 through expiration day in May. Additional profits are available should shares slip beneath $27.00 in the next several weeks. The transaction may be linked to an underlying share position. If this is the case, the put options serve as downside protection should the fund’s share price erode, but the short position in calls could result in the investor having the underlying shares called away from him at expiration should the call contracts land in-the-money at that time.
XRT – SPDR S&P Retail ETF – A massive bearish transaction on the XRT, an exchange-traded fund which seeks to replicate the performance…
by Option Review - February 16th, 2010 4:32 pm
Today’s tickers: UNG, IP, EEM, CAH, TRA, UAUA, USO, WFMI, BRK.B & ANF
UNG – United States Natural Gas ETF – Shares of the natural gas exchange-traded fund, which mirrors the price and performance of natural gas, are down 1.85% to $9.67 with just under one hour remaining in the trading session. Options traders initiated bullish plays in the March contract despite the dip lower in the price of the underlying shares. It looks like one investor initiated a bullish risk reversal to position for a rebound in the price per UNG share by March expiration. The trader sold 8,250 in-the-money puts at the March $10 strike for a premium of $0.64 each in order to offset the cost of buying 8,250 calls at the same strike for $0.40 apiece. The trader pockets a net credit of $0.24 per contract on the reversal, which he keeps if shares of the fund trade above $10.00 by expiration day. Additional profits are available to the upside if and when the price per share exceeds $10.00 apiece.
IP – International Paper Co. – Global paper and packaging firm, International Paper Company, enticed bullish options traders to initiate optimistic positions in the March contract as shares of the underlying stock jumped 6% in late afternoon trading to $23.92. Plain-vanilla call buying took place at the March $25 strike where upwards of 10,000 contracts were purchased for an average premium of $0.45 apiece. Call buyers stand ready to accrue profits should IP’s shares rally another 6.40% over the current value of the stock to surpass the effective breakeven point on the calls at $25.45 by March expiration.
EEM – iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF – Shares of the emerging markets exchange-traded fund, which generally corresponds to the price of the MSCI Emerging Markets index that was created by MSCI as a benchmark for international stock performance, rallied 2.30% to $39.32 this afternoon. June contract options activity on the EEM suggests shares may stagnate near the current price through expiration in four months. It looks like options traders sold straddles in order to pocket premium on the sale of both calls and puts. Investors sold approximately 9,100 calls at the June $39 strike for an average premium of $2.95 apiece and sold 9,100 puts at the same strike for a premium of $2.65 each. Gross premium enjoyed by straddle-sellers amounts to $5.60 per contract. Investors…
by Option Review - February 9th, 2010 4:07 pm
Today’s tickers: BAC, PBR, UAUA, BIIB, USO, MAC, NLY, NYX, CVS & KGC
BAC – Bank of America Corp. – Options trading in the August contract on Bank of America suggests a significant recovery in the value of the underlying shares within the next seven months to expiration. Shares spent the majority of the trading session in the red, but rallied in late-afternoon trading, improving 0.20% to $14.51. It looks like one trader sold 6,000 put options at the August $12 strike for a premium of $0.86 each in order to partially finance the purchase of 6,000 calls at the higher August $16 strike at a premium of $1.12 apiece. The net cost of the bullish risk reversal amounts to $0.26 per contract, positioning the investor to accumulate profits above a breakeven share price of $16.26. Shares of the underlying stock must rally at least 12% over the current price for the trader to break even on the transaction by August expiration. We note that B of A’s shares traded above $16.50 as recently as January 20, 2010.
PBR – Petroleo Brasileiro SA ADR – Shares of Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, rallied 3.70% to $39.60 today perhaps after the company stated natural gas output will increase to 93 million cubic meters in 2011, up from 85 million cubic meters in the current year. PetroBras-bulls stampeded the February contract this afternoon to sell roughly 15,000 puts at the February $39 strike for an average premium of $0.83 apiece. Investors selling short the puts retain the full premium received today as long as shares of the underlying stock trade above $39.00 through expiration day. Put-sellers are apparently happy to have shares put to them for an effective price of $38.17 each should the put contracts land in-the-money at expiration.
UAUA – UAL Corp. – Shares of the owner and operator of United Airlines surged 17% to a new 52-week high of $15.27 today amid better-than-expected unit revenue for the month of January. Optimistic option traders dabbled in both calls and puts to take bullish positions on UAL Corp. Investors sold 2,300 puts at the February $13 strike, taking in an average premium of $0.16 per contract. Put sellers retain the full premium as long as UAUA’s share price remains above $13.00 through expiration. One the call side, traders picked up roughly 2,000 contracts at the now in-the-money February $15…
by Option Review - January 5th, 2010 4:31 pm
Today’s tickers: JPM, LVS, S, WFC, UAUA, NBR, PTEN, FIG, PCS, DAL & TPX
JPM – JPMorgan Chase & Co. – A three-legged combination play suggests one investor anticipates a significant rally in JPMorgan’s shares within the next few months. The stock is trading 2% higher this afternoon to $43.65. The trader utilized both calls and puts in the March contract in order to position for potential bullish movement in shares of the underlying. The investor sold 15,000 puts at the March 40 strike for an average premium of 1.18 apiece to partially offset the cost of buying a call spread. The call spread involved the purchase of 15,000 calls at the now in-the-money March 43 strike for an average premium of 2.58 each, marked against the sale of 15,000 calls at the higher March 47 strike for 90 cents premium apiece. The net cost of the three-legged strategy amounts to 90 cents per contract. Maximum potential profits of 3.50 per contract – a grand total of $5.25 million – are available to the investor if JPM’s shares rally through $47.00 by expiration day. Profits amass above the breakeven price of $43.50. The short put stance at the March 40 strike implies the investor is willing to have shares put to him at $40.00 apiece if the put options land in-the-money.
LVS – Las Vegas Sands Corp. – Reports of a large 48% increase in December revenue at Sands China – the Macau unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp. – pushed shares of LVS up 9.5% to $18.21 today. Option bulls, hoping good fortune and accurate foresight are on their side looked to the February contract to initiate plain-vanilla call buying strategies. The now in-the-money February 18 strike had roughly 2,700 calls picked up for an average premium of 1.29 apiece. The higher February 19 strike was the hot spot for bulls looking to bet on an LVS rally. Out of the 19,500 calls traded at that strike, more than 12,200 contracts were purchased for about one dollar per contract. Call options exchanged at the February 19 strike vastly outnumber previously existing open interest at that strike of just 2,725 lots. The higher February 20 strike received bullish interest as well, with about 2,000 contracts coveted by traders for an average premium of 66 cents each. As of 3:15 pm (EDT), investors traded just under 127,000 option contracts of LVS,…
by Option Review - December 22nd, 2009 4:30 pm
Today’s tickers: MNKD, SKX, FXI, SBUX, VIX, ACOR, NFLX, AMR & UAUA
MNKD – Mannkind Corp. – Stop, hey, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down…We reported bearish options activity on biopharmaceutical company, MannKind Corp., yesterday as investors shed call options and enacted pessimistic plays on the stock. Lo-and-behold, MannKind’s shares plummeted today, falling 20% at times during the trading session to an intraday low of $7.52. News that its inhaled insulin drug, Afresa, could encounter delays at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration incensed investor uncertainty regarding the fate of MNKD’s share price. Option implied volatility jumped 43.61% during the trading day from an intraday low of 116.96% up to the current reading of 167.97%. Frenzied bearish option traders populating the stock today are probably kicking themselves for not acting 24 hour earlier. One investor initiated a put spread today by purchasing 2,000 puts at the February 7.5 strike for an average premium of 1.79 apiece, spread against the sale of 2,000 puts at the lower February 5.0 strike for 64 cents premium each. The net cost of the transaction amounts to 1.15 per contract. Call selling is apparent at the February 10 strike where 1,300 calls sold for 1.21 each. Investors shed 1,200 calls at the higher February 12.5 strike to take in 73 cents premium per contract. Finally, a bearish risk reversal graced the May 2010 contract. It looks like one trader sold 1,250 calls at the May 10 strike for 2.15 apiece in order to partially finance the purchase of the same number of put options at the May 7.5 strike for 3.30 each. The net cost of the put options amounts to 1.15 per contract and yields profits to the downside beneath the breakeven point at $6.35. MNKD’s shares must fall at least 15.5% from today’s low of $7.52 before the investor responsible for the reversal play breaks even on the trade.
SKX – Sketchers USA, Inc. – Fashion footwear manufacturer, Sketchers, received a vote of confidence by one option trader today who initiated a bullish risk reversal in the February contract. The investor implemented the optimistic strategy despite the 0.5% decline in SKX shares to $28.60. It looks like the trader sold 1,800 in-the-money puts at the February 30 strike for 3.00 apiece in order to finance the purchase of 1,800 out-of-the-money calls at the same strike for 2.00 each. The investor receives…
by Option Review - November 30th, 2009 4:10 pm
Today’s tickers: RCL, GE, YHOO, XLF, X, FCX, AIG, CF, JAVA & UAUA
RCL – Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. – Bearish option traders clawed-aboard global cruise company, Royal Caribbean, today despite the 0.5% increase in shares during the trading session to $24.24. A large-volume risk reversal in the June 2010 contract indicates rougher seas could cloud RCL’s horizon. One investor sold 20,000 calls at the June 30 strike for an average premium of 1.70 apiece, spread against the purchase of the same number of put options at the lower June 20 strike for 2.25 each. The net cost of the reversal amounts to 55 cents per contract. The investor responsible for the trade is likely long shares of the underlying stock. If this is the case, the long put position established today, provides downside protection beneath the effective breakeven point at $19.45. Conversely, if shares surge during the next seven months, the underlying stock position will be called away from the trader if shares exceed $30.00 by expiration in June.
GE – General Electric Co. – A sold straddle on General Electric this afternoon indicates one investor expects shares to settle at $16.00 by expiration in June of 2010. Shares edged slightly lower by less than 0.50% to $15.88 in late afternoon trading. The trader looked to the June 16 strike to sell approximately 5,000 calls for a premium of 1.61 apiece and 5,000 puts at the same strike for 1.89 each. The gross premium pocketed by the investor amounts to 3.50 per contract. The trader keeps the full 3.50 premium on the straddle if shares center at $16.00 through expiration. The investor may take profits ahead of expiration by buying back the short straddle for less than 3.50 per contract. Premiums on both calls and puts are elevated today because of the 6% increase in option implied volatility on the stock to 35.50%. The trader benefits from lower volatility on GE and from eroding time value of option premiums. Both factors drag option premiums lower and allow the trader to buy back the straddle in a profitable manner.
YHOO – Yahoo!, Inc. – The 0.5% decline in shares of the internet company to $14.93 did not deter one investor from taking a bullish stance in the April 2010 contract today. It appears the trader put on a ratio call spread to position for a rebound in shares by expiration.…
by Option Review - August 6th, 2009 5:41 pm
Today’s tickers: AIG, CAT, UAUA, WFC, HIG, CHK, FRE & SLV
AIG– Nearly 300,000 option contracts, which represent 59% of the existing open interest on the stock of 509,946 lots, exchanged hands on AIG today as investors await the release of the firm’s second-quarter earnings report tomorrow. Shares of the firm exploded nearly 63% higher yesterday to $22.00, and continued to rally during today’s session. The stock reached an intraday high of $29.39 within the first half hour of trading, but has since come off to the current price of $23.50. The put-to-call ratio of 1.04 indicates that put options were favored just slightly over call options. Trading volume was most heavily concentrated in the near-term August contract with the August 30 strike calls trading more than 31,000 times for a current premium of 1.93 apiece. Investor uncertainty has gone through the roof over the past two days, rising up from 99% at the open on Wednesday to an intraday high today of a whopping 196.5%. Volatility will likely implode following tomorrow’s earnings release. – American International Group, Inc.
CAT– It seems that one investor has decided to stick with Caterpillar for the long haul by initiating the purchase of a chunk of married puts in the January 2011 contract today. Shares of CAT are currently trading higher by less than 0.5% to $46.81. The stock has enjoyed a glorious run-up over the past four weeks, surging 36% higher from a low of $30.03 on July 10, up to a nine-month high of $48.08 attained during yesterday’s trading session. Perhaps the investor is anxious to get in on the bullish action, but is fearful that the stock may encounter some rough patches while the global economy struggles to free itself from the clutches of the recession. Thus, he chose to buy the stock but simultaneously pick up downside protection, as well. The investor bought approximately 12,500 puts at the January 2011 45 strike price for an average premium of 9.68 per contract. A great deal of the premium described is composed of time value which will erode as we near expiration in 2011. But, the investor may now watch the stock appreciate over time and feel secure in the event that shares slip lower on occasion. – Caterpillar Inc.
by Option Review - June 15th, 2009 5:04 pm
Today’s tickers: XHB, XLB, APWR, FXI, S, EEM, XLU, UAUA & ACOR
XHB– Shares of the homebuilders fund have dropped 4% today to stand at $11.65. We observed one near-term bear pawing at put options on the ETF in the June and July contracts. The trader took profits on one chunk of put options by selling to close out a long position. It appears that he originally purchased 10,000 puts at the June 12 strike price for an average premium of 20 cents apiece. Today he sold the same 10,000 put options which are currently in-the-money for 40 cents per contract. The investor makes a nice 20 cent per contract gain on the trade, which he may have applied toward the purchase of 10,000 puts at the more bearish July 11 strike price at a cost of 45 cents apiece. The underlying shares of XHB would need to fall another 9% through the breakeven point at $10.55 in order for the trader to amass profits on the new long put position. – SPDR Homebuilders ETF
XLB – The Materials ETF has experienced a share price decline of approximately 3.5% to $27.01. The XLB ticker symbol jumped onto our ‘most active by options volume’ market scanner after a massive chunk of 50,000 calls were traded in the near-term June contract. The 50,000 calls traded to the middle of the market at the June 28 strike price for a premium of 15 cents apiece. We noted the presence of some 59,000 lots of open interest at the June 28 strike price. Upon further investigation, it appears that back on May 20, 2009, 50,000 calls were purchased for 90 cents per contract. If today’s trade represents the closing sale of the same 50,000 calls by the same investor, he has realized a net loss of 75 cents per contract or $3,750,000 in total. – Materials Select Sector SPDR
APWR – The Chinese power generation systems manufacturer appeared on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner amid a more than 4% decrease in its share price to $12.35. One investor hoping to benefit from limited bearish movement in the stock populated the September contract today. It appears that the trader sold a strangle in order to fund the purchase of in-the-money put options. The strangle was established through the sale of 3,000 puts at the September 10 strike price for 1.26 apiece…
by Phil Davis - April 26th, 2009 4:22 pm
What a strange week.
Overall, it was a big, ugly "W": We began the week at about 8,100, fell to 7,800 Tuesday morning, rose to 8,050 on Wednesday (hump day), fell to 7,800 again on Thursday and then back to 8,100 on Friday. In summary – NOTHING HAPPENED! We have that gap to fill on Monday around 8,000 (last Monday’s gap down open) and, unlike this past week, next week is going to be chock-full of scary data points including Consumer Confidence and Case/Shiller Home Prices on Tuesday, GDP and the Fed on Wednesday, Jobless Claims and Personal Income and Spending along with the Chicago PMI on Thursday and Friday is still busy with Michigan Sentiment, Factory Orders, ISM and Auto Sales for April.
It’s going to be fun, fun, fun next week as another 25% of the S&P 500 are set to report and early on, we’ll be keeping our eyes on the following:
- Monday: BEAV, CHKP, GLW, ENR, HUM, LO, ONB, QCOM, SII, TZOO, VZ & WHR. Evening: AXS, BIDU, FNF, FADV, HLTF, HXL, MAS, MTH, OLN, RCII, SWN, TUES, UHS, WRE, WRI and XL
- Tuesday: AG, AMFI, AMED, AM, BDX, BMS, BMY, BCO, CRDN, CCE, CVH, ELNK, FMD, BEN, FDP, HCP, HL, KELYA, LAZ, LCAV, LVLT, MHP, NWPX, ODP, OXPS, ORB, PCAR, MALL, PCZ, PFE, SMG, SBNY, SPAR, STFC, TLAB, X, UA, VLO and WAT. Evening: ACE, BLDP, BWLD, CRI, ETFC, FIS, HTZ, MEE, NAL, PNRA, PRAA, RFMD, SUNH, JAVA and VFC.
So plenty to keep us busy but earnings last week were way better than expected overall and guidance was not too depressing so we’ll have to see what kind of follow-through we can now get on that and if there is any gas left in the market to finally punch through that 8,200 mark or if we are still doomed to correct back to 7,632 in the very least.
As I mentioned in last week’s wrap-up, we called it right by entering the weekend 55% bearish despite the fabulous stick save of Friday the 16th. In fact, I should have gone with my gut at 3:43 that day when I said to members: "DIA – 1/2 cover into the close it is then. I wanted to go more bearish but the levels won’t let me!" Thank goodness we stay bearish though because, as you can see from the chart above, there was no time to…