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Yelp Call Options Revisited

Yesterday we noted heavy call option activity in Yelp ahead of that company’s first-quarter earnings report after the close of trading on Wednesday (click here for yesterday’s note). The most traded contracts on the stock prior to the earnings release were the regular May expiry $60 strike calls, with the bulk of the more than 14,000 contracts in traded volume likely purchased at a premium of $3.50 each. Shares in Yelp closed Wednesday at $58.32 and well off the lowest intraday level of $54.68.

Shares in the name are up sharply on Thursday morning after Yelp reported a first-quarter loss of $0.04 a share, beating the average of analyst expectations. The stock popped more than 10% during the first 25 minutes of the trading session to as high as $64.38. The sharp move in the price of the underlying pushed the premium on the now in-the-money 16May’14 $60 calls to $6.30 at 9:55 a.m. ET, an 80% increase in the value of the contracts overnight for buyers who paid $3.50 per contract on Wednesday. Open interest in the May $60 strike calls, which was 1,878 contracts as of yesterday, jumped to 18,763 today following heavy trading in the prior session. It’s still early in the session, but as of 10:00 a.m. ET, only 230 of the calls have changed hands, suggesting traders are holding onto the contracts for now.

Chart – Premium on YELP 16May’14 $60 strike calls rises

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