by Option Review - May 24th, 2013 7:06 pm
Options brief will resume June 3rd, 2013.
Today’s tickers: ANF, XLU & XLV
by Option Review - April 30th, 2013 8:16 pm
Today’s tickers: HIG, NUAN & XLU
by Option Review - April 26th, 2013 10:02 pm
Today’s tickers: XLU, HPQ & QLIK
by Phil Davis - March 23rd, 2010 7:38 am
Here’s a fun chart to consider:
This is the S&P 500 Bullish Percent Index, which is a measure of the percent of stocks in the index that are currently trading with Point and Figure buy signals. Bullish Percent Levels higher than 70% are considered overbought and below 30% is considered oversold. We hit a high of 88 in September of last year and haven’t been below 50 since last March’s crash. Notice a move down to just 64 cost the S&P close to 10% in February so, believe me - you don’t even want to think about what will happen if we hit 30!
Note these tops can last for a couple of weeks and that fits in fine with our reasoning for cashing out last week and moving to the sidelines to watch this nonsense unfold, as funds scramble to put up the best possible Q1 numbers between now and next Wednesday, in the hopes of getting investor capital off the sidelines and back where they can charge some fees.
A funny thing about funds that most people don’t consider is that, in a cyclical market, the WORST funds to put money into are often the ones that just posted the best performance because their strategy is often stretched. Logically, you should be looking at the worst performing funds and trying to find one that backed something (like natural gas last Q) that you feel may be recovering. Of course, that’s not human nature and funds will do ANYTHING to get themselves on the top of those lists to attract the investment bucks in Q2.
Taking a look at our sector spider charts, we see the amazing run we’ve had since Feb 8th and, like our index charts, we want to be aware of those blue lines (20 dma) as a sign of short-term weakness, which means we’re very concerned with XLB (with builders reporting this week), XLE (oil must hold $80) and XLU (possibly hopeless due to consumers being unable to pay bills).
Think of the sectors as a bunch of little tug-boats, pulling the large S&P barge. One or two of them my not be pulling in the same direction as the group and that would have little effect on the broader index but, as more and more of the little indexes begin to line up and pull in the same direction – the index begins to turn and, once you have a majority pulling in one direction, the remaining stragglers…
by Phil Davis - February 14th, 2010 8:25 am
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Last Valentine’s Day was as Saturday, following a frightening Friday the 13th, where we had fallen through the 8,000 line on the Dow. I wrote a very interesting post that morning discussing how I came about my political views, which is good for new Members to check out. We also flipped short that day on SKF, too early at $130 but that ended well as we kept after them and it was our biggest bet by March 6th, which eventually returned over 1,000%. We also stopped shorting GOOG at $350 (it did keep going to $300 but the upside was nice too). I closed the morning post with:
For us, it’s all about the levels as we try to remain unbiased as investors, no matter how voraciously we defend our political views. Dow 7,800, S&P 820, Nas 1,460, NYSE 5,100, Russell 437 and SOX 203 all better continue to hold today but, even if they do, we’re nowhere near where we want to be and we’re going to take some bearish covers into the weekend – just in case. So whether you are a witch celebrating the horrors of the 13th or waiting for a rose from your true love the next day, remember to be careful out there – we are certainly still deep, deep in the woods!
That Tuesday (Monday was President’s day) we fell 300 points and another 300 points by the end of the week! That was a fitting way to mark the 80th anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre when Al Capone’s "South Side" gang, dressed as cops, rousted a garage run by Bugs Moran’s "North Side" gang and had them stand against the wall and then executed all 7 men. They shot them 70 times with machine guns and made their escape by using the Capone men dressed as cops to "arrest" the other Capone men and drive them away from the scene in broad daylight. Now that’s what I call a good plan!
Here’s a great chart that summarizes our year to date. Someone else found this, I wish I knew how to use StockCharts this well, they have tons of good things in there:
It’s a bit worrying that XLU is doing so poorly – so much for diversification keeping you safe… It’s going to be worth rummaging through the utility companies looking for good dividend payers who are on sale. SO…
by Option Review - December 14th, 2009 4:26 pm
Today’s tickers: AAPL, GLD, XLU, AEP, CI, CHK, XEL, OSK, LLL, JAVA & BSX
AAPL – Apple, Inc. – A long-term bullish play on the iPod manufacturer suggests the price of the stock could skyrocket by July 2010. Apple’s shares increased more than 1% during the session to $196.96. It looks like one trader initiated a call spread in the July contract to position for a significant jump in the price of the underlying in the next seven months. The investor purchased 3,000 calls at the July 220 strike for a premium of 13.60 apiece, and sold the same number of calls at the higher July 250 strike for about 6.18 each. The net cost of the bullish play amounts to 7.42 per contract. AAPL’s shares must surge 15.5% from the current price in order to reach the breakeven point on the trade at $227.42. Maximum potential profits of 22.58 per contract are available to the investor if the stock jumps 27% to $250.00 by expiration in July.
GLD – SPDR Gold Trust ETF – A bullish risk reversal on the gold ETF today points to a rebound in gold bullion prices by expiration in February 2010. Shares of the GLD added nearly 1% during the trading day to stand at $110.23. One trader sold 9,650 puts at the February 110 strike for 4.70 each in order to partially finance the purchase of 9,650 calls at the same strike for 4.90 apiece. The net cost of the reversal amounts to just 20 cents per contract. Profits amass on the transaction if shares of the fund rally through the breakeven price of $110.20 by expiration day in February 2010.
XLU – SPDR Utilities Select Sector ETF – Shares of the exchange-traded fund comprised of common stocks of companies from the electric utilities, multi-utilities, independent power producers, energy traders and gas utility industries, increased 0.75% during the trading day to a new 52-week high of $32.08. The fresh high for the fund perhaps inspired the bullish options activity we observed on the XLU today. One investor banked profits on a previously established long call position in the January 2010 contract. The trader originally bought 5,000 calls at the January 29 strike for a premium of 92 cents apiece back on November 6, 2009, when shares were at $28.90. The investor sold the calls today for 2.95 apiece and took in net profits…
by Option Review - December 4th, 2009 4:11 pm
Today’s tickers: BAC, XRX, XLF, CAR, XLU, BIG, SLM, TTWO, MRVL & TSN
BAC – Bank of America Corp. – Investors employed two contradictory option strategies in the February contract on Bank of America today. One trader initiated a large bearish risk reversal while the other put on a bullish call spread. BAC’s shares rallied 3.5% this afternoon to $16.30. The pessimistic investor appears to have sold 30,000 in-the-money call options at the February 15 strike for 1.74 apiece in order to purchase 30,000 puts at the same strike for 84 cents each. The reversal results in a net credit of 90 cents per contract to the trader. Perhaps this individual expects shares to decline beneath the $15-level by expiration so he may retain the full 90 cent credit on the trade. Bullish trading in the same February 2010 contract suggests shares are set to rally higher in the next few months. An optimistic investor purchased 10,000 calls at the February 17 strike for 89 cents each, and sold the same number of calls at the higher February 19 strike for 34 cents apiece. The net cost of the spread amounts to 55 cents per contract. Maximum potential profits of 1.45 are available to the investor if shares increase more than 16.5% from the current price to a new 52-week high of $19.00 by expiration in February.
XRX – Xerox Corp. – One investor utilized the risk reversal strategy in order to take a long-term bullish stance on Xerox. Shares moved 1% higher this afternoon to $7.85. It looks like the trader sold 20,000 puts at the January 2011 7.5 strike for a premium of 1.15 each to partially finance the purchase of 20,000 calls at the same strike for 1.60 apiece. The net cost of the reversal amounts to 45 cents per contract. The investor profits if shares surpass the breakeven price of $7.95 within the next 12 months to expiration.
XLF – Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF – Shares of the XLF rallied 0.75% in afternoon trading to stand at $14.46. Bullish options activity on the fund suggests shares are likely to appreciate within the next several months. Optimistic investors purchased 69,000 in-the-money call options at the March 14 strike for an average premium of 1.36 per contract. XLF shares must rise 6% from the current price before profits accumulate above the breakeven point at $15.35. Shares last…
by Option Review - September 23rd, 2009 5:05 pm
Today’s tickers: IYT, WYN, BBBY, XLU, ERTS, MSFT, ALTH & MT
IYT - Shares of the IYT are currently down 0.5% to $71.43. One option trader appears to have exchanged 19,500 contracts on the ETF to take a bearish stance through expiration in December. The three-legged trade executed on the IYT today exceeds the existing open interest of 13,323 lots by more than 6,000 contracts. The trader likely holds a long position in the underlying shares of the fund because of the placement of the options play. It appears the investor funded a put spread by selling out-of-the-money calls short. He sold 6,500 calls at the December 76 strike for 2.45 apiece. The put spread involved the purchase of 6,500 puts at the December 73 strike for 5.10 each against the sale of 6,500 puts at the lower December 67 strike for 2.70 per contract. The investor is left with a net credit of 5 pennies, which he will ultimately retain in full as long as shares of the IYT remain beneath $76.00 through expiration. Additional gains – or downside protection on a long stock position – have already kicked in for the trader given the breakeven price of $73.00 on the trade. The put spread provides maximum protection if shares decline 6% from the current price to $67.00 by expiration in December. – iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Index –
WYN - The hospitality company appeared on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner this afternoon due to greater than normal call activity. Bullish option traders made moves on the stock despite the slight 0.25% dip in shares to $16.01. Traders looked to the November 20 strike where approximately 1,000 calls look to have been bought for an average premium of 45 cents each. The higher November 22.5 strike had about 8,000 calls coveted by investors who paid an average of 19 cents per contract. Call-buyers at the higher strike may garner profits if shares surge 42% from the current price to surpass the breakeven point at $22.69 by expiration in November. Wyndham has traded beneath the breakeven price described since May 20, 2008. We note that option traders exchanged 21,290 contracts on WYN today, which represents 36% of the existing open interest on the stock of 59,774 lots. – Wyndham Worldwide Corp. –
BBBY - The home-furnishings retailer received an upgrade to ‘neutral’ from ‘sell’ at FTN Equity today ahead…
by Option Review - July 23rd, 2009 4:35 pm
Today’s tickers: MSFT, CMCSK, HIG, PNC, F, WFC, XLU & FXI
MSFT – Shares of the software company are currently higher by about 3% to $25.53, but options activity on the stock suggests investors are bracing for bearish movement in the price of the underlying through expiration in September. Traders may be feeling a bit nervous ahead of MSFT’s fourth-quarter earnings report, as the firm is expected to reveal that earnings declined to 36 cents from 46 cents in the same period last year. Investors acted on fears of potential declines in the stock by selling approximately 10,000 calls short at the September 26 strike price for a premium of 85 cents apiece in order to finance the purchase of some 10,000 puts at the September 25 strike for 1.11 per contract. The net cost of getting long protective put options amounts to 26 cents. Traders will begin to amass profits, or protect long positions in the underlying, if shares slip beneath the breakeven point to the downside at $24.74. – Microsoft Corp.
CMCSK – The provider of entertainment announced that it will be the first cable provider to offer full HBO On Demand service in high definition (HD) to its customers. Shares of CMCSK have rallied approximately 1% to $13.70 during today’s trading session. Comcast appeared on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner after option traders took bullish stances on the firm in the near-term August contract. Hoping for continued upward movement in the stock, investors purchase about 8,900 calls at the August 15 strike price for an average premium of 22 cents apiece. In order for these individuals to amass profits by expiration, shares would need to surge at least 11% to surpass the breakeven point at $15.22. Option implied volatility edged slightly higher to 41% this afternoon from the opening reading of 38%. – Comcast Corp.
HIG – Frenzied call-buying by bullish option traders was apparent on the insurance and financial services firm today, amid a share price rally of more than 14% to $14.03. Call options were traded five times to each put option in action on the stock, as evidenced by the call-to-put ratio of more than 5-to-1. The near-term August 14 strike had about 5,200 in-the-money calls picked up for an average premium of 73 cents apiece. We note that now the same in-the-money calls tote an asking price of 1.25 each.…
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…