Unusual Options Activity Review - C, EK, LNG, S, DDS, NRG, JTX, IVN, .RUT, XLI,
Unusual Options Activity Review For Friday, April 29, 2011
A noteworthy spread trades in Citigroup (C) late-Friday. Shares finished unchanged at $4.59. In afternoon Citi options action, an investor bought 43,000 September 5 calls at an average of 10.5 cents. They sold 86,000 September 5.5 calls for 3.5 cents. Therefore, they paid 7 cents for this Sep 5 ñ 5.5 (1X2) call ratio spread. There is substantial open interest in both contracts and so the spread might roll or close an existing position. If this is a new spread, it's a bullish play on the bank. It makes its best profits if shares rally to $5.5 through the September expiration, which represents a 20 percent rally over the next 140 days.
Bullish trading was also seen in Eastman Kodak (EK), Cheniere Energy (LNG), and Sprint (S).
An interesting spread traded in Dillard's (DDS) Friday. In this spread, the investor bought 6,000 May 38 calls at $10.30 per contract and also sold 6,000 May 35 puts at a nickel. They also sold 6,000 June 45 calls at $4.90 and bought 6,000 June 40 puts at 75 cents per contract. Looking at the open interest data indicates that the strategist probably rolled a position. That is, they exited a May 35 ñ 38 risk-reversal and opened a new position in the June 40 ñ 45 risk-reversal. They rolled a bearish position up in strike prices and out an additional month. A shareholder might have initiated the position to adjust a hedge or (collar) against a position in shares.
Bearish flow also surfaced in NRG Energy (NRG), Jackson Hewitt (JTX), and Ivanhoe Mines (IVN).
The Russell 2000 Small Cap Index (.RUT) saw increasing options action Friday. The index, which has become the market's main benchmark for the performance of shares of smaller companies, finished the day up 3.74 to 865.29. 97,000 calls and 28,000 puts traded on the "Russell" In morning trading, the May 910 ñ 920 call spread saw interest. One investor sold the spread 11,500X at 30 cents. That is, they sold the 910s and bought the 920s. The spread traded more than 38,000X and appears to be new positioning. It seems to be bet that the small cap index will hold below 910 through the June expiration, which would represent a 5 percent move over the next 48 days. If so, the call spread writer keeps the 30-cent credit. The potential risk is $9.70 per spread (plus commissions) if the index rallies beyond 920.0.
Large call buyers in the Industrials Select Sector Fund (XLI) for a second time. Shares, which hold GE, United Technologies (UTX) and the other industrial names from the S&P 500, touched a new 52-week high on Caterpillar's (CAT) better-than-expected earnings. XLI finished the day up 16 cents to $38.70. In options action, one investor bought 100,000 June 40 calls at 44 cents per contract. At the end of the day, 104,956 contracts traded. Similar activity was seen Thursday when 109,306 contracts changed hands. The XLI June 40 call is 3.8 percent out-of-the-money and expires in 49 days. One large institutional investor might be accumulating the position as a way to get increased exposure to that one sector of the market.
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