Option Trading News for Tuesday

Here’s a recap of the action seen today in the options market.


The panic over the European Debt Crisis subsided and stocks rally on Wall Street Tuesday, as the manic-depressive market action continues. The focus is clearly on Europe. The only domestic economic stat of the day, which showed Consumer Confidence up to 45.4 in September, from 45.2 and below expectations of 46.6, had little market impact. Instead, a 5.8 percent surge in France’s CAC 40 Index amid talks EU officials are coming closer to forging plans to recapitalize banks and bolster bailout funds is giving stocks a bid on Wall Street as well.

With less than thirty minutes to trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 165 points, but 160 points off session highs. The tech-heavy NASDAQ has added 30. CBOE Volatility Index (.VIX) added 1.31 to 37.71. Options volume is respectable today. 8.9 million calls and 8.6 million puts traded so far.

Bullish Flow

RIM (RIMM) is rallying and calls on the Blackberry-maker are seeing brisk trading early Tuesday. Shares gained $1.24 to $22.92 and are now up 12.4 percent from the intraday 52-week low of $20.41 set Thursday. Options volume in RIM in the first thirty minutes includes 63,000 calls and 19,000 puts. Weekly 23 calls, which expire 9/30 and are now 8 cents OTM, are the most actives. 12,260 traded. Weekly 22, Weekly 24, Oct 23, Oct 24 and Oct 25 calls are also busy. Meanwhile, implied volatility in options on RIMM is up 10 percent to 71 amid talk “Carl Icahn has taken a stake in the company” but “there is no actual evidence that Icahn has an interest in the company,” according to Forbes.com.

Frontline (FRO) rallies 63 cents to $5.85 and today’s options volume in the Bermudian oil tanker and bulk shipper is 3X the daily average. 9,075 calls and 150 puts traded in the name so far. The top trade is a 1000-contract block of Jan 6 calls bought-to-open at $1.05 on ISE. Oct 6 calls are the most actives. 4,274 traded (62 percent Ask) against 1,971 in open interest. Oct 7 and Nov 6 calls are seeing interest as well. Shares are up 5.9 percent since hitting a 52-week low of $4.99 intraday Friday, but the one-year chart is still in a bearish funk. FRO was approaching $30 per share in late-September last year. Today’s order flow seems to reflect expectations for a retracement of some of those losses in the weeks ahead. Short covering is likely to be a factor as well. Short shares as percent of float in FRO is more than 20 percent.

Bearish Flow

Popular (BPOP) adds 20 ents to $1.67 and 11,435 Jan 2 calls on the Puerto Rican bank are sold-to-open at 14 cents per contract. The stock is on a three-day 21.9 percent run higher, but a bearish longer-term trendline is still intact. BPOP is down 53.5 percent from the 52-week highs seen in early-Feb. Today’s call writer seems to see limited upside through Jan 2012. $2 calls on BPOP are now 19.8 percent OTM.

Implied Volatility Mover

Starbuck’s (SBUX) adds 94 cents to $40.42 and the top options trade on the stock today is a 3560-contract block of Oct 40 puts at $1.59 on ISE when the market was $1.59 to $1.62. Sentiment data indicate a customer sold-to-open. 5,035 now traded against 2,540 in open interest. Oct 40 puts on SBUX are 1.1 percent OTM with a delta of -.44 and 24 days of life remaining. Some players might be writing the contract on the view the stock will hold above $40 over the next few weeks. SBUX notched a 52-week high of $42 intraday on Sep 20, but gave up the gains and finished the day with a loss. Shares fell an additional 6.1 percent over the next two days, to $38.6, but are on a three-day 4.7 percent run higher since that time. The stock is not far from a resistance level around $41, which coincides with highs seen in June and July. Meanwhile, implied volatility on the stock is down 9.5 percent to 40 today, compared to a 52-week high and low of 54 and 22.

See SeekingAlpha.com for the entire report

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