by Option Review - July 9th, 2012 2:31 pm
Today’s tickers: UBS, RIMM & HZNP
UBS - UBS AG – Call options looking for a rebound in shares of Switzerland’s largest lender in the next six weeks are in play today ahead of the company’s second-quarter earnings report on July 31st. Shares in the Swiss bank are near the lowest levels of the year, down almost 40% since July 2011, and currently lower by 0.80% on the day to stand at $10.93 just before 1:00 p.m. ET. Traders appear to have purchased around 1,190 calls at the Aug. $12 strike for a premium of $0.15 per contract. Call buyers may profit at August expiration should shares in UBS rally 11.2% to surpass the effective breakeven price of $12.15. The stock last traded above $12.15 back in May.
RIMM - Research in Motion, Ltd. – Shares in the troubled mobile phone maker reversed gains realized in early trading on Monday to stand 3.5% lower on the session at $7.82 as of 12:15 p.m. in New York. Fresh positioning in October expiry call options within minutes of the opening bell this morning suggests one or more strategists may be positioning for shares in Research in Motion to improve during the next few months. Upwards of 8,000 calls changed hands at the Oct. $9.0 strike, with much of the volume trading in a block of 4,136 lots versus open interest of 1,617 contracts. It looks like almost all of the calls were purchased for an average premium of $0.79 apiece, establishing an average breakeven price of $9.79 on the upside. Traders long the Oct. $9.0 calls profit at expiration if shares in RIMM surge 25.2% to exceed $9.79. Executives of the Blackberry maker face shareholders tomorrow at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Waterloo, Ontario.
by Option Review - September 15th, 2011 2:54 pm
Today’s tickers: UBS, MHP, ESRX & DGX
UBS - UBS AG – Switzerland’s largest bank said it may be unprofitable in the third quarter due to the staggering $2 billion in trading losses one of its employees racked up in unauthorized dealing. The news sent shares in UBS down as much as 11.6% to a two-year low of $11.21, but options traders appear to have largely shrugged off concerns and are betting on a rebound in the price of the underlying. Call buying and put selling on the stock appear to be the most oft-employed strategies of the day. Investors expecting shares to recover in the next five weeks picked up roughly 3,100 calls at the October $12 strike for an average premium of $0.73 each. Call buyers profit if shares in UBS rally 12.5% over the stock’s current price of $11.32 to exceed the average breakeven point at $12.73 by expiration day next month. Meanwhile, put sellers targeted the October $10, $11 and $12 strikes, suggesting some investors expect shares to exceed those levels through October expiration. Traders pocketed an average premium of $1.27 per contract on the sale of roughly 615 puts at the October $12 strike. Premium received is money in the bank for sellers of the options as long as the contracts expire worthless next month. Longer-dated calls drew some attention, as well. Investors snapped up around 2,000 calls at the December $12 strike for an average premium of $1.10 each. Traders may see the value of these calls appreciate if shares in UBS reverse course over the next few months to December expiration. The positions are profitable at expiration if shares exceed the effective breakeven price of $13.10.
MHP - McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. – A burst of activity in McGraw-Hill call options minutes before 12:00 pm…
by Phil Davis - September 12th, 2011 6:54 am
That’s how much Greece is paying today to borrow money for a year! In theory, if you lend Greece $10,000 today, next year they will pay you back $20,800. In THEORY that is because, at 108% – IF they actually borrowed at that rate, you could be very sure that they would not be around to pay you. That’s the joke of this whole thing – we have these insanely unrealistic prices being set on bonds, which only hurts the people who have outstanding ones and need to redeem them as Greece doesn’t actually borrow money for even double-digit interest rates. It’s all a silly, artificial construct that is only useful in spreading panic among investors.
Unfortunately, investor panic is all you need to really destroy the Global economy – as we proved in 2008. As you can see from the chart on the right, we are currently mirroring the same path we took 3 years ago as we head into October and, in fact, our financial sector is performing WORSE than it did when we had ACTUAL major bank and minor country failures – not just rumors of them.
On Friday, Greece’s finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, blamed “organized rumors” for renewed speculation that Greece would default, and said the country intended to comply with all terms needed for the bailout that European countries agreed to in July. But the fact that the details of the deal have yet to be locked down has unnerved some investors.
In a speech this week, Josef Ackermann, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank, said it was not justifiable for politicians to demand that European banks raise more capital, as Christine Lagarde (DSK’s evil replacement), the head of the International Monetary Fund, had done. “It’s obvious,” he said, “that many European banks would not be able to handle writing down the sovereign bonds they hold on their banking books to market levels.”
But, he said, it would “risk undermining the credibility” of European bailout packages “if politicians were to now send out the signal that they do not believe in the success of those measures.” And, he argued, forcing banks to raise capital now would anger investors by forcing the dilution of current shareholders.
by Phil Davis - September 2nd, 2011 8:18 am
$30 Billion – that’s bound to get their attention!
According to the WSJ, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is set to file suits against more than a dozen big banks, accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they assembled and sold at the height of the housing bubble. The suits, which are expected to be filed in the coming days in federal court, are aimed at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, among others, according to three individuals briefed on the matter.
The suits stem from subpoenas the finance agency issued to banks a year ago. If the case is not filed Friday, they said, it will come Tuesday, shortly before a deadline expires for the housing agency to file claims arguing the banks, which assembled the mortgages and marketed them as securities to investors, failed to perform the due diligence required under securities law and missed evidence that borrowers’ incomes were inflated or falsified. When many borrowers were unable to pay their mortgages, the securities backed by the mortgages quickly lost value.
Fannie and Freddie lost more than $30 billion, in part as a result of the deals, losses that were borne mostly by taxpayers. In July, the agency filed suit against UBS, another major mortgage securitizer, seeking to recover at least $900 million, and the individuals with knowledge of the case said the new litigation would be similar in scope.
Tim Rood, who worked at Fannie Mae until 2006 and is now a partner at the Collingwood Group, which advises banks and servicers on housing-related issues, agrees with what I told Members in last night’s chat:
"While I believe that F.H.F.A. is acting responsibly in its role as conservator, I am afraid that we risk pushing these guys off of a cliff and we’re going to have to bail out the banks again.”
In other words – MADNESS! What was the point of spending Trillions of Dollars bailing out the Banks if you are going to turn around and sue them for $30Bn and drop their stock price another Trillion, causing them to need another bailout?
Perhaps this is the denouement of a week of scary market rumors that seem to have been designed to stop the markets from breaking too high. We were speculating on this last night in Member Chat before this…
by Option Review - August 10th, 2011 2:46 pm
Today’s tickers: DIS, UBS, TEVA & PAYX
DIS - The Walt Disney Co. – The largest operator of theme parks is a far cry from the happiest place on Earth for investors in Disney today as shares realized their biggest intraday decline since September 2001. The company reported better-than-expected earnings after the closing bell on Tuesday, but the subsequent pop in DIS shares disappeared in the blink of an eye as investors began to price in concerns that slowing economic growth may hit Disney hard given its reliance on the consumer’s willingness to spend. DIS shares fell as much as 14.7% this morning to secure a new 52-week low of $29.60. Though shares tumbled today, it looks like a number of options strategists are positioning for the magic to eventually return. Contrarians betting on a rebound took to multiple expiries, buying calls and selling puts in the August contract, as well as initiating bullish spreads in longer-dated contracts. Near-term optimists employed largely plain-vanilla strategies, picking up more than 2,450 calls at the August $32 strike for an average premium of $0.49 apiece. A number of traders taking in an average premium of $0.66 per contract on the sale of 2,100 puts at the August $29 strike seem more than happy to get long the stock at that level should the puts land in-the-money at expiration next week. Of course, investors selling the puts walk away with the full amount of premium as long as shares exceed $29.00 by next Friday.
Meanwhile, longer-term bullish players appear to be purchasing call spreads. The 2,500-lot Jan. 2012 $30/$40 call spread purchased at a net premium of $2.85 per contract yields positive returns for one strategist should Disney’s shares rally above the effective breakeven point at $32.85 by expiration next year. The buyer of the spread could fetch maximum potential profits of $7.15 per contract in the event that Disney’s shares jump 27.3% over the current price of $31.42 (share price as of 12:10 pm ET) to top…
by Phil Davis - September 27th, 2010 7:18 am
Hope springs eternal at Goldman Sachs.
This morning our favorite Banksters goosed the EU markets by upping targets on international mining operators Kazakhmys, Lonmin and BHP and that got the European markets off to a flying start out of the gate, despite the fact that UBS had just DOWNgraded the same sector on Friday. UBS said on Friday that the sector is facing difficult times concerning potential growth with government rulings on mineral leases and the proposed supertax on mining profits in Australia set to hinder metal-based stocks.
We also have a lot of M&A activity, also courtesy of GS, who are leading the resurgence this year with 225 deals to date worth $401.6Bn, accounting for about 20% of all activity going through Goldman’s sticky fingers. In a sign of the times, however, GS only generated $961M in revenues as an M&A advisor as they cut a lot of discounts in order to land the top spot in dealmaking. Although outdealt by GS, MS, Rothchild, JPM and DB all made more in fees than the Uncle Lloyd show.
In a sign of the end of times, GS’s London Headquarters has been taken over by lenders after the owner fell into receivership. GS’s landlord, Antedon, is an offshore real estate firm that bought the building for $500M at the top of the market in 2007 and GS has locked up the building through 2026 at what seems to be not enough money to keep Antedon liquid – it would be very interesting to trace the web of deals that led to this massive default.
Meanwhile, the consortium of Irish investors that own GS’s other London building are also bailing out, this action is coinciding with what Ireland’s Independent says is a campaign by Wall Street Hedge Funds to short sell Irish Government Bonds. US hedge funds Groveland Capital and Corrientes Advisors are thought to have taken major positions against Irish debt. Giant €60bn asset-manager Pictet also revealed that it had earlier bet against Irish government bonds. JP Morgan is also thought to have taken a bearish position on Irish debt. The International Monetary Fund estimated that up to €3bn of Ireland’s debt was being targeted by speculators through the uses of derivatives.
by Option Review - March 31st, 2010 6:20 pm
Today’s tickers: CNO, OSIP, HIG, FXI, JDSU, ARQL, GNW, TEVA, KO & UBS
CNO – Conseco, Inc. – The holding company for a number of insurance companies, such as Colonial Penn Life Insurance Co. and Washington National Insurance Co., popped up on our ‘most active by options volume’ market scanner late in the session after a massive bullish risk reversal was established on the stock in the January 2011 contract. Conseco’s shares declined 0.80% during the course of the trading day to stand at $6.18. It looks like one optimistic options player sold 33,727 puts at the January 2011 $5.0 strike for a premium of $0.50 apiece in order to partially finance the purchase of 33,727 calls at the same strike for $1.80 each. The net cost of the transaction amounts to $1.30 per contract. Thus, the investor responsible for the reversal is prepared to amass profits if Conseco’s shares rally through the breakeven price of $6.30 ahead of expiration day in January. The 67,454 contracts involved in the spread trump existing open interest on the stock of 48,756 lots.
OSIP – OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. – The outline of a slightly lopsided iron condor appeared in the May contract on OSI Pharmaceuticals, indicating one options investor expects shares of the biotechnology company to trade within a specified range through expiration. OSIP’s shares surrendered 0.85% during afternoon trading to stand at $59.55 perhaps after The Wall Street Journal reported that Astellas Pharma, Inc. is extending its tender offer for OSI Pharmaceuticals – valued at $3.5 billion – by three weeks to April 23, 2010. The investor responsible for the iron condor play essentially enacted two credit spreads, one using put options and the other calls, in order to pocket options premium. On the call side, the trader shed 4,000 contracts at the May $60 strike for a premium of $1.90 apiece, spread against the purchase of the same number of calls at the higher May $62.5 strike for $0.90 each. As for the puts, the investor sold 4,000 lots at the May $55 strike for a premium of $0.94 per contract, marked against the purchase of 4,000 puts at the lower May $50 strike for $0.62 each. Notice that the put credit spread is wider than the spread on the call side, which creates a lopsided iron condor in this case. The net credit pocketed by the trader amounts to $1.32…
by Phil Davis - March 26th, 2010 8:04 am
It’s amazing – it’s fantastic – its… stupid!
Not STUPID, like Spain, Turkey, UK, Portugal, Italy and Dubai – who are also in major financial crisis but stupid like because a boy put a finger in the dike we don’t have to evacuate the town anymore and, in fact, we’re going to build a whole new section of town out of paper houses right next to the dike to show how much we don’t worry about getting wet any more. That’s the global economy in a nutshell - we freak out if anyone says a bad word about it but then we are overjoyed if someone else says it’s all fixed – even if it’s the same person both times…
Manic depression is a disorder where people are subject to extreme mood swings, going from feeling very sad, despairing, helpless, worthless, and hopeless (depression) to feeling as if they are on top of the world, hyperactive, creative, and grandiose (mania). This disease is called bipolar disorder because the mood of a person can alternate between two completely opposite poles, euphoric happiness and extreme sadness. The extremes of mood usually occur in cycles and tend to become closer together with age and, according to EMed: "Extreme mania can lead to aggressive behavior, potentially dangerous risk-taking behaviors." Hmm, does this sound like any markets we know?
The behavior of the EU and other world leaders is starting to look more and more insane every day. Yesterday Greece was literally saved in the morning, screwed in the afternoon and saved again in the evening (holding up so far this morning) and the Dow went from 10,830 to 10,950 and back to 10,840 during it’s session. I’ve dated girls like this – that’s why we moved to CASH last week! More and more our World leaders are starting to sound like the Joker in the last Batman movie, who said:
"Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just… do things… Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all "part of
by ilene - February 1st, 2010 10:59 am
Courtesy of Vincent Fernando at Clusterstock
Swiss mega-bank UBS could collapse if the U.S. plays hardball with its tax fraud investigations.
If true, it’s a pretty sad admission about the state of UBS right now. Perhaps the end is near for the ‘Swiss model’ of banking, by which we mean Swiss tax evasion services.
"The actions of UBS in the United States are very problematic. Not just because they are punishable but also because they threaten all of the bank’s activities," Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told Le Matin Dimanche newspaper.
"The Swiss economy and the job market would suffer on a major scale if UBS fails as a result of its licence being revoked in the United States," she said.
by Phil Davis - November 24th, 2009 8:26 am
Busy, busy today with lots of data!
At the moment (8am), I only know that retail sales were flat to last week, which was 1% better than last year but this week is 3.3% better than last year because LAST YEAR TOTALLY SUCKED! That’s right, we are now comping to numbers that are so atrocious that in order to miss them we would have to all dig holes in our backyards, cover them with tarps (no, not the bailout package but a good conceptual image) and drink only rainwater and eat earthworms. Anything better than that will give us more economic activity than we had last November, when the market was completing a 50% dive off the previous year’s highs and we weren’t sure there was going to anything to be thankful for on November 27th.
Our market hit rock bottom on November 21st, the Friday before Thanksgiving (and an option expiration day) at about 7,500 on the Dow. People were generally shell-shocked but we did bounce back to 8,500 and drifted around there through Jan 1st (9,000) before plunging to 6,500 by March 9th. THAT my friends, is the period we are comping against! So beware "improvements" being sighted in the MSM as we are now comparing our weak recovery to a total train wreck and yes, it’s much better now, but better in the way that the Chicago Bears (4-6) are better than the Detroit Lions (2-8), not the way the Minnesota Vikings (9-1) are better than the Lions.
Later today we have an update (and downgrade) of our Q3 GDP followed by Redbook Chain Store Sales and Case-Shiller Home Prices at 9. At 10 we get Consumer Confidence (or lack thereof), the FHFA Housing Price Index, the Richmond Fed Report and State Street’s Investor Confidence Index. Later today we have the results of a massive $39Bn 3-year Note Auction, the Fed Minutes at 2pm along with Industry Charge-offs and, finally, at 5pm we get the ABC Consumer Confidence (if any) Index.
It’s a very brave bunch of bulls who have run the futures up half a point off their lows this morning with all that data coming up. When I say brave of course, I mean the disgustingly manipulative and should be thrown in jail kind of brave but, since none of our regulators seem to care about the nonsense that goes on every day at the commodity and futures exchanges – I guess they are…