Some investors believe advertising firm Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG) will see more business in the near term as the economy improves and companies buy ads to reach consumers. The stock began rising at the end of February and into March, reaching a multiyear high above $13, but it has trailed down recently like the rest of the market. The stock is up nearly 2.3% today.
But one options trading investor is worried it may have further to drop.
OptionMONSTER’s Depth Charge tracking system detected the purchase of 5,000 IPG April 12 Puts for 50 cents, while equal numbers of IPG April 11 Puts and IPG April 13 Calls were sold at the same time, both for 10 cents. Volume was above open interest in all three strikes.
The net cost of the trade was 30 cents, and it will earn a maximum profit of 233% if the advertising stock closes at or below $11 on expiration. If done naked, it will lose money above $13.
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However, it could have been done as a hedge by an investor who owns IPG shares and wants to protect against further downside. Prior to its recent surge, IPG spent about four months trapped below $11. Friday’s trade is apparently looking for a retest of the old resistance level as support.
IPG’s last earnings report on Feb. 25 beat expectations, and management issued a bullish forecast. It also instituted a new dividend and stock-buyback program.
The bearish trade, a variation of a so-called collar strategy, pushed total options volume in the stock to more than eight times the average level.
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