Your intraday options trading update.
Generally quiet this morning in equities. The bullish moves by the major indices are good, driven primarily by strong earnings reports, but the volume to back it up hasn’t been there, says Joe Cusick, senior vice president and options analyst with Options Express. One concern is the financial sector. “Banks need to move in a positive direction if this rally is to continue,” says Cusick.
High Options Volume by Strike
The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) leads the action with its May11 130 Put trading more than 127K contracts. The strike is down .15 with a last of .82. Other busy SPY strikes are AprWk4 133 Put, and AprWk5 134 Call, each around 50,000 contracts.
The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (NYSE: EEM) May11 51 Call, up .11 to .63, and the May11 53 Call, up .03 to .13, each trade about 42K contracts. EEM is up .36 to 50.10.
Cusick finds an interesting trade in Oil Service HOLDRs ETF (NYSE: OIH). A trader bought 4,000 OIH May 150 Puts at $1.21, and sold 10,000 OIH May 140 Puts at 34 cents. “Looks like a hedge on drillers and oil, as it finds some resistance at $110, $111, and we go into long weekend with a 25% ‘headline premium’ on news from the Middle East,” says Cusick. OIH includes Halliburton, Baker Hughes, others.
Top equity strike is a Ford (NYSE: F). The FAprWk4 15 Call trades nearly 35,000 contracts, up .13 to .29. Cusick says F received some positive comments recently from Barclay’s analysts and the auto sector has been sold off recently.
April Weeklys Puts on Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) are getting pealed, cored and creamed. The AAPL AprWk4 350 Put is down 10.32 to .48 with 33,113 contracts trading. The Weeklys are caught in the crossfire as they expire today — because tomorrow is a trading holiday — and AAPL once again beats earnings and is up 8.61 to 351.02. That’s gotta hurt.
Major Stock Trading Volume Movers
Tradestation Group (NASDAQ: TRAD) is up 2.27 to 9.69 on stock volume of 28 million shares. Monex Group to buy TRAD for 9.75 a share, or $411 million.
Teva Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ: TEVA) down 3.14 to 46.03 as competitor Biogen Idec’s multiple sclerosis drug reports better test results. TEVA trades 33 million shares. Meanwhile Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) is up 16.35 to 102.92 on 12 million shares.
Find more option analysis and trading ideas at Options Trading Strategies.
Stocks/Underlying – Big Daily Change in Option Volume
Syngenta (NYSE: SYT) trades 10,434 options as stock rises 1.58 to 71.06. Generally positive news for the ag chemicals firm. But yesterday a judge in Madison County, Ill. ordered the release of documents from SYT and its PR firm that were designed to make the local court system look like a “judicial hellhole” run under “jackpot justice.” The company’s PR campaign was in response to a class-action lawsuit over contamination of drinking water by a SYT herbicide. Illinois kicks butt.
Takeover object Tradestation Group (NASDAQ: TRAD) sees 1,489 options traded.
Lincare Holdings (NASDAQ: LNCR) has 15,708 options trade. Cusick says the medical sector firm saw at least 9,000 LNCR May 32 Calls trade in two blocks at 30 cents. Looks like a covered write by investor already holding the stock, says Cusick.
Stocks – High Put/Call Ratio
Restaurant firm Brinker Intl (NYSE: EAT) falls .63 to 24.89 and Put/Call Ratio rises to 211.33.
Finish Line (NASDAQ: FINL) rises .16 to 21.33 but P/C Ratio hits 116.33. And Cintas (NASDAQ: CTAS) drops negligible to 30.79 but P/C gets to 40.58.
Stocks/Underlying – High Option Volume
SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) sees option volume of 1.2 million as index rises .55 to 133.65.
The CBOE Volatility Index (CBOE: VIX) is down .29 to 14.78 as 179,294 options trade on the Index. OK, there have been jokes that VIX can’t get a driver’s license, then that it only rates a Learner’s Permit. We’re starting to get down to puberty here.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is top equity with 471,405 options contracts trading with traders reacting to strong earnings. General Electric (NYSE: GE) trades 192,430 options as stock falls .47 to 19.93.
Ford (NYSE: F) makes our list again with 158,717 options traded.
Burney Simpson is the managing editor of InvestorPlace options pages.