by Option Review - October 17th, 2012 4:42 pm
Today’s tickers: WHR, AIG & GRMN
WHR - Whirlpool Corp. – Shares in the maker of home appliances rallied as much as 4.6% today to a new 52-week high of $88.79 after U.S. housing starts rose to the highest level since June 2008. The stock has been on a tear since the start of summer, trading up more than 60% since the end of June, and some options traders appear to be positioning for the rally to continue in the near term. Bullish players looked to the Nov. $90 and $92.5 strikes, snapping up roughly 1,000 of the $90 strike call for an average premium of $2.80 each, and purchasing around 375 calls up at the $92.5 strike price for an average premium of $1.95 apiece this morning. Call buyers stand ready to profit at expiration next month should Whirlpool’s shares rally another 4.5% and 6.4% to top average breakeven prices of $92.80 and $94.45, respectively. Traders snapping up WHR calls may also be looking ahead to the company’s third-quarter earnings report, scheduled for release prior to the opening bell next Tuesday.
AIG - American International Group, Inc. – A large put spread initiated on insurer, AIG, this morning may be the work of one strategist locking in gains on the stock on the heels of a more than 35% rally in the price of the shares since June 4th. AIG’s shares are currently up 1.6% on the day to stand at $36.93 as of 1:00 p.m. ET. The single-largest transaction in options on the insurer today, the purchase of a 13,550-lot Jan. 2013 $32/$37 bear put spread at a net premium of $1.46 per contract, profits from- or provides protection against- limited declines in the share price through January expiration. The trade makes money if shares in AIG decline 3.8% from the current level to breach the effective breakeven price of $35.54, with maximum potential gains of $3.54 per contract in the event of…
by Phil Davis - July 2nd, 2012 7:13 am
Now we need follow-through.
I think we've already blown the opportunity. In Stock World Weekly we discussed the stealth bailouts jammed into the Transportation bill on Friday which rightly sent the markets flying higher into the close of the quarter (I know quelle suprise!). As noted by David Fry, GS was working hard behind the scenes to make sure that, in the end, Germany toe'd the line.
For the year so far, the Dow is up 3.89%, S&P is up 6.66% (so you KNOW Goldman is involved), the Nasdaq is up 10.81%, NYSE 2.33% (all of it gained on Friday) and the Russell 6.15%. See how great everything is?
We took the money and ran, again, as we hit some clear resistance lines (see SWW) on our Big Chart and there was no sense risking a 10% gain in our first week in our new $25,000 Portfolio with the July 4th holiday coming up (we have a half-day tomorrow and we're closed on Wednesday).
The only trades we left active in the $25KP was 5 OIH July $35 calls at $1.25 (still $1.25), 10 DIA July $129 calls at $1.10 (now $1.35) and 10 SQQQ July $49/53 bull call spreads at $1 (now .75) we added later in the day to protect them in case we had a big dip this week. If we make it through Friday above the lines on our Big Chart – then we will continue to be "constructively bullish" and we'll be happy to deploy more cash but, into 2 days off – NO THANKS!
In fact, as we're already up 22% on the DIA calls – if we get another pop this morning, those are likely to come off the table as well. After all, how much money should you expect to make in 48 hours? This is a very unnatural and manipulated market and it's great to play it – as long as you keep that in mind! The danger comes when you delude yourself that this is some kind of "investing" environment when it's actually just gambling ahead of Q2 earnings reports – that could send us right back into a tail-spin.
by Phil Davis - November 24th, 2011 5:27 pm
What an ugly finish November is having!
We’ve been trying to get bullish with little success and, if we are not reversing tomorrow, I will be regretting the wasted time poking at bullish plays when we could have been going "wheeeee" on the slide.
I thought that blue line on Dave Fry’s chart was going to hold, it’s about 2.5% down from our Must Hold level for the S&P on the Big Chart (1,235) and that would have been a reasonable (and slight) overshoot of the 10% drop we were expecting so we played for the bounce but now we’ve blown our -5% line at 1,173 and our next support level is -10% at 1,112 – a very sad level to revisit if we do.
Technically, of course, we’re breaking down. Fundamentally, I’m not so sure. The fear is palpable as Europe looks terrible and clearly all these austerity measures are taking a toll on the Global economy but it’s simply NOT showing up in the data yet. PMI’s are dropping across the Globe but the Purchasing Manager’s index is a SENTIMENT indicator that reflects the OPINION of the buyers about business prospects.
As I have been pointing out (yes, there was a point) in my recent series of articles about market and media manipulation – there is a protracted campaign underway to push sentiment down – to chase retail buyers out of the markets.
Who is doing this? Perhaps it is the IBanks, who want to bottom out the market ahead of QE3, when we’ll be off to the races again. Perhaps it is the Fed and Treasury, who want to chase people into the $140Bn worth of bonds they have to sell each month. Perhaps it is the Republicans, who want to campaign against the worst possible economy next year to prove that Obama has blown his handling of the economy almost as bad as Bush did – so we may as well try one of their idiots again since it seems to make no difference. Don’t laugh – I have a button for Romney that says that…
Whatever and whoever is behind the negativity (and let’s not forget Germany, who are angling to take control of the EU and will be able to do so if things deteriorate further) – our job as investors is not to particularly care – but…
by Phil Davis - November 22nd, 2011 7:43 am
Long live the Debt! In case you are voting in the next election – here are 12 people to get rid of. Much as I may blame one party over another for this failure, they all deserve what’s coming to them for A) Pretending they were going to accomplish something and B) For not now getting up and making very strong statements denouncing the corruption in politics that make it impossible for Congress to do the Nation’s business anymore.
In case you happen to be a Fox News viewer, I will try to keep this VERY simple because, as it turns out, we now have definitive studies that prove Fox News MAKES YOU STUPID. Of course, it is possible that only stupid people watch Fox News but I know many people who think they are smart and watch Fox News so I have to blame Fox News here as do researchers at Farleigh Dickenson University who found "The results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all." As I can tell you from raising my own children to be good citizens:
The biggest aid to answering correctly is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which leads to a 6-point decrease in identifying the protesters as Republicans, and a 12-point increase in the likelihood of giving the correct answer. "Jon Stewart has not spent a lot of time on some of these issues," said Cassino. "But the results show that when he does talk about something, his viewers pick up a lot more information than they would from other news sources."
Watching Fox News, by the way, led to an 18-point disadvantage (out of 53% of all respondents) in being able to answer questions like "Were Egyptians successful in overthrowing Hosni Mubarak" or "Has the Syrian uprising been successful" but that was a Fox viewer’s area of expertise compared to having a clue of what is going on in American politics other than "Obama sucks." Tied with Daily show viewers for best informed were NPR supporters but, sadly, only 21% of Americans get their news from NPR and only 18% from the Daily Show while 64% list Fox News as one of their frequent news sources.
by Option Review - December 14th, 2010 4:01 pm
Today’s tickers: CMCSA, CSX, WHR & TSN
CMCSA - Comcast Corp. – Bullish traders are piling into call options on Comcast Corp. today after the cable provider received an upgrade to ‘outperform’ from ‘market perform’ with a 12-month target share price of $26.00 at Sanford Bernstein. Shares in Comcast Corp. surged 5.05% to secure an intraday- and new 52-week high of $22.40. Optimism on the cable services company also follows a report in the Wall Street Journal this morning that describes Comcast’s efforts to test a new service that combines TV and the some features of the Internet through a set-top box. Near-term bulls purchased more than 5,910 now in-the-money calls at the December $22 strike for an average premium of $0.36 apiece. Investors holding these contracts are hoping to see Comcast’s shares soar above the average breakeven price of $22.36 through expiration on Friday. More than 7,200 calls changed hands at the December $22 strike versus puny previously existing open interest of just 1,052 contracts. Optimism spread to the January 2011 contract where investors purchased in- and out-of-the-money call options. Traders scooped up more than 2,800 calls up at the January 2011 $22.5 strike at an average premium of $0.46 apiece. Call buyers at this strike are poised to profit should shares in Comcast Corp. climb 2.5% over today’s high of $22.40 to exceed the average breakeven point on the calls at $22.96 ahead of January 2011 expiration. Comcast call and put options were active in the April 2011 contract, as well. It looks like one trader may have unraveled a 2,500-lot three-legged bullish spread this morning. The sharp rise in demand for options on the stock lifted Comcast’s overall reading of options implied volatility 8.8% to 25.26% by 12:55 pm.
CSX - CSX Corp. – The provider of rail-based transportation services popped up on our scanners in the first half of the trading session after a large number of put options changed hands in the January 2011 contract. CSX Corp.’s shares are down slightly…
by Option Review - August 23rd, 2010 4:05 pm
Today’s tickers: GS, BA, RHT, DTG, DELL, ISLN & WHR
GS – Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. – A three-legged bullish options combination play initiated on Goldman Sachs this afternoon indicates one strategist is positioning for a sharp rebound in the price of the underlying stock by October expiration. GS shares, unable to hold onto gains realized earlier in the session, are currently down 0.65% to arrive at $147.27 just after 3:30 pm ET. It looks like the options optimist sold puts in order to partially finance the purchase of a debit call spread. The investor shed approximately 2,000 puts at the October $135 strike for an average premium of $2.74 each, purchased roughly the same number of calls at the October $150 strike for an average premium of $5.46 apiece, and sold about 2,000 calls at the higher October $160 strike at a premium of $1.89 a-pop. The average net cost of the transaction is reduced to just $0.83 per contract. Thus, the options player responsible for the trade is positioned to make money as long as Goldman’s shares rally 2.4% over the current price of $147.27 to surpass the average breakeven price of $150.83 by October expiration day. The trader may accumulate profits of up to $9.17 per contract if GS shares surge 8.6% to trade above $160.00 at expiration in a couple of months. Goldman Sachs’ shares last traded above $160.00 back on April 29, 2010.
BA – Boeing Co. – The second-largest U.S. satellite maker attracted the attention of one bullish options player this afternoon perhaps on news the firm expects to receive a minimum of $2 billion of orders for military communications satellites from a Defense Department contract announced in the previous week. Boeing’s shares slipped 1.95% to $63.34 in late afternoon trading, but the price erosion did not deter one trader from initiating a bullish risk reversal on the stock. It looks like the investor sold 7,000 puts at the October $60 strike for an average premium of $1.83 each in order to buy the same number of calls at the higher October $70 strike for premium of $0.95 apiece. The risk reversal was tied to the purchase of some 371,000 shares of the underlying at a price of $63.94 each. The responsible party received a net credit of $0.88 per contract on the reversal play. The investor is long the stock, short put…
by Phil Davis - July 20th, 2010 8:13 am
Wheeeee – this is fun!
Well, it’s fun when you have disaster hedges anyway. I already sent out an Alert to Members this morning reminding them that there’s no point in having disaster hedges if you don’t use that money to buy on the dips, though. Yesterday we added downside, leveraged plays on SDS (2) and DXD and our focus short was on NFLX (last week it was MA, and that went very well) along with our usual DIA Mattress play. That shifted us a bit negative as we failed to hold our watch levels and now we are sadly looking all the way down to those low closes of: Dow 9,686, S&P 1,022, Nasdaq 2,081, NYSE 6,434, Russell 590, SOX 332 and Transports 1,905 as a possible re-test if things get really ugly.
On July 3rd I laid out "5 Plays that Make 500% if the Market Falls" and, fortunately, we didn’t need them as we took off on Monday but they are still good plays and a little cheaper now than they were when we last tested our bottoms. If you are not well-protected – I strongly suggest you read this post and at least be ready to initiate a hedge if we can’t turn this morning around. As with most day’s lately – it’s all about copper and the $3 line…
That being said, I do think we will turn this morning around eventually - because IBM is down $7 and the Dow moves about 8 points per $1 of component value so that’s hitting the Dow for 56 points all by itself. IBM’s earnings were great but revs missed, in large part due to currency issues. BRIC revenues were up 22% for the company, despite the crap exchange rate.
TXN got whacked too on their report that profits nearly tripled on a 42% jump in revenues (not kidding). "Demand has continued very solid and very broad-based," said Ron Slaymaker, the company’s vice president of investor relations.
Mr. Slaymaker said the biggest positive surprise in the period was stronger demand from companies that buy industrial equipment, which have rebounded much slower than consumers from the recession. One notable area of weakness, he added, was sales of chips used in cellphones. TI has long been a major supplier to handset-maker Nokia Corp., which in June lowered its second-quarter forecast.
The company reported net income for the period ended
by Option Review - December 1st, 2009 4:17 pm
Today’s tickers: ACE, EFA, HAL, AMAT, WHR, DE, JTX & WCG
ACE – ACE Limited – The surge in demand for call options on the insurance company today drove option implied volatility up 19.75% to 28.67%, while shares gained more than 2% to $49.78 during the trading day. Investors populating the December contract exhibited bullish sentiment on ACE by selling puts and buying calls. Approximately 3,000 puts were shed at the December 50 strike for an average premium of 1.51 apiece, while some 2,100 calls were purchased at the same strike for roughly 89 cents each. Call volume at the January 50 strike sky-rocketed to 21,666 contracts – on previous existing open interest of just 1,402 calls – as traders scooped up about 20,000 lots for a premium of 1.42 per contract. Investors long the January contract call options are positioned to accrue profits if ACE’s shares trade above the breakeven price of $51.42 by expiration.
EFA – iShares MSCI EAFE Index ETF – The exchange-traded fund, which includes stocks from Europe, Australasia and the Far East, attracted bearish option players despite the 2.5% rise in shares today to $56.88. One investor, who may hold a long position in the underlying stock, unfurled a ratio put spread in the January 2010 contract. The trader purchased 10,000 puts at the January 55 strike for an average premium of 1.39 each, and sold 20,000 puts at the lower January 52 strike for about 70 cents apiece. The investor pockets a net credit of 1 penny per contract on the trade and establishes downside protection in case shares of the EFA decline ahead of expiration. The 1 cent credit is ‘free money’ for the trader as long as the shares remain above $55.00 through expiration in January.
HAL – Halliburton Co. – Options activity on the oil and gas company today suggests at least one investor is bracing for potential share price erosion through expiration in January. Halliburton’s shares rose 1% during the session to $29.57. The trader responsible for the bearish ratio put spread is likely holding a long position in the underlying stock. If this is the case, today’s transaction provides downside protection for the investor. It appears 5,000 puts were purchased at the January 29 strike for an average premium of 1.24 apiece, spread against the sale of 10,000 puts at the lower January 24 strike for 18 pennies each.…
by Phil Davis - August 15th, 2009 4:04 am
Well we’re back to cash…
After getting off to a great start, up 12% in the first 3 weeks, we were lucky this week to get back to 12% after having a run of bad luck (or bad skill actually, as we went bearish too early and got punished for it). The goal of the $5,000 virtual portfolio is to play around the volatility of earnings and make no mistake, it’s a high-risk way to trade $5,000 and is meant to be a small portion of a large virtual portfolio – not something you would want to do with your only $5,000. Of course the usual disclaimer is, this is a virtual portfolio, don’t try this at home, trading is dangerous, always consult a professional financial adviser, etc, etc. The idea is to practice different option strategies and we’re learning from our successes and failures – I hope!
Our first play 5 plays that we closed were on AA, DIA, SGR, MCD, and DELL, which had a total gain of $629 in our first 6 days. For details on those trades, go to the Day 6 post. We have been posting all of the moves for the $5KP in member chat, of course, but also on Seeking Alpha’s Stock Talk, where we have discovered the added bonus that, like Twitter, you do not have to refresh the page to see new comments! If you want to follow these trades, just click on "Follow" under my picture and you will automatically see any comments made there. A full review of Stock Talk commentary regarding the $5KP is available here and please make sure you click "Follow" on my picture so that you will be able to track further updates.
We closed positions on WFC and AXP, up $258 in our last review on July 25th and we have since closed our YUM position with a $256 loss on the 28th, which was a shame as we gave up on 8 Aug $35 calls at .45 ($360) and they flew up to $2 ($1,600) just a week later. Unfortunately, in a small virtual portfolio, you don’t have the luxury of riding out your losses and, at the time, we felt lucky to escape this underperfomer with a relatively small loss.
by Phil Davis - July 29th, 2009 8:30 am
Today we get the "anecdotal" information on the current economic conditions from each of the twelve Federal Districts, we find these reports very useful as they tend not to be sugar-coated and the last BBook release (June 10th) marked a clear top to the the last round of irrational market exuberance when there was no significant improvement in the Fed’s outlook despite the market having rallied 10% in the month leading up to it.
That’s all it takes to pop a bubble – the simple lack of additional air. Members would do well to review the comments of that day as we got a quick read on the Book, which backed up our generally toppy view of the market and we jumped right on POT $105 puts for $1.15 at 2:03 as I had been targeting them as the most ridiculously overpriced stock and my quick read from the Fed confirmed it. POT fell from $117.88 that day to $92.72 on expiration day and bottomed out at $82 on July 13th. This is the way to play the Beige Book, you need to have a premise that is either confirmed or denied by the facts and you can make a play accordingly but you can’t simply REACT to the information, it can quickly be too late by the time you figure out what to do. Having a plan and alternatives based on various outcomes allows you to take advantage of market data as it comes out. That’s why we get so excited when we get our Beige Book!
BBook days are often market movers. This year’s Books came out Jan 14th (down 250), March 4th (up 100 ahead of huge drop) and April 15th (up 100) and June 10th where we went down 130, up 100 and finished the day back down just 24 points. Going back to my June 10th post, I see a lot of similarities, including the China bubble – which I also said was overdone at that time ahead of a 2,000-point pullback that began on the 12th. Oil was $71.50 that morning and it’s "just" $65.50 now and that’s a ray of sunshine if it heads lower. That was also the day I called for a class action suit against GS for their blatant manipulation of the energy markets – something I still have not found a law firm brave enough to take on!