Your intraday options trading update.
All in all a moderate morning as Joseph Cusick, senior market analyst with OptionsXpress, says that stock volume this week has been very low on both the NYSE and the NASDAQ. “That’s in anticipation of the Fed meeting tomorrow.”
Eyes have been on the iShares Silver Trust ETF (NYSE: SLV) after it rose yesterday to 45.83 on massive volume of nearly 190 million shares. Options trading volume was about 1.5 million contracts yesterday, said Cusick. This morning SLV is down more than 3.4% to 44.26.
“That’s partly profit talking after a parabolic move to the upside. The swing has been amazing,” said Cusick. Traders are not talking large positions in SLV due to its unpredictable nature but they are trading it as speculators. “The action is in gold and silver, not stocks as we saw earlier in the earnings cycle,” said Cusick.
High Options Volume by Strike
Citigroup (NYSE: C) leads in strike volume with its C Jun11 4.5 Call trading 89,419 contracts and falls .02 to .14.
The iShares Russell 2000 Index ETF (NYSE:IWM) is up with the IWM May11 83 Put trading 58,781 contracts as the strike falls .41 to .74. The IWM at 85.50 trading very near its 52-week high of 85.67 as it rises today 1.36%.
Most of the rest of high volume is in the good old SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) as it moves up 1.20 to 134.84. Volume seen in SPY May11 139 and 137 Calls, and the SPY May11 133 Put and AprWk5 134 Put.
Older brother S&P 500 Index Options (CBOE: SPX) trades some contracts in its SPX Jun11 1340 Put, down 5.38 to 27.00, and its SPX Jun11 1330 Put, down 6.00 to 22.00.
Yum Brands (NYSE: YUM) is a major equity option contract trader with its YUM Jan12 50 and 55 Calls and Yum Jan12 45 and 40 Puts. The four YUM strikes each trade about 32,000 contracts.
Major Stock Trading Volume Movers
Lawson Software (NASDAQ: LWSN) is down .98 to 11.15 on nearly 28 million shares. Private equity firm Golden Gate Capital teamed with software firm Infor and will pay $2 billion to acquire Lawson for $11.25 a share. Lawson had been looking for a higher bid after the two buyers made a bid in March.
Wilshire Bancorp (NASDAQ: WIBC) hit a 52-week low as it traded down more than 18% to 4.13 on 1.7 million shares. Bank reported losses of $52 million in the first quarter.
Gulf Resources (NASDAQ: GFRE) trades down 1.26 to 2.59 on 8.8 million shares. Option traders have been circling this dropping stock, according to reports. GFRE manufactures bromine and crude salt for the China market.
Find more option analysis and trading ideas at Options Trading Strategies.
Stocks/Underlying – Big Daily Change in Option Volume
Yum Brands (NYSE: YUM) trades 133,916 option contracts as the stock drops .75 to 52.45. That’s about 2,300% more contracts than normal. YUM reports it has made a preliminary bid to buy the Chinese restaurant firm Little Sheep Group. YUM already owns 27.2% of the company based in Inner Mongolia.
Cusick notes traders coming at the stock from two directions. Yesterday RBC upgraded the target stock price of YUM to 59 from 56 while today the cost of the acquisition has interested sellers. “Both sides of the market are playing today,” said Cusick. Trading of puts to calls is nearly 50-50 today, he said.
McGraw Hill (NYSE: MHP) sees 12,287 options trade as stock drops .68 to 38.91 as earnings send mixed signals. OptionMONSTER reports a possible four-part options trade with the sale of 2,000 contracts in both the MHP Aug 34 Puts and Aug 36 Puts, along with same 2,000 contract apiece purchase in the MHP Aug 41 Calls and Aug 43 Calls. The trader collected premium and will see profits if MHP trades above 41, according to OM.
Stocks – High Put/Call Ratio
Credit Suisse Group (NYSE: CS) sees its Put/Call ratio reach 173.00 as stock rises 1.23 to 45.04
Another finance firm, though in a little different class, TCF Financial (NYSE: TCB) has a P/C of 70.31 as this stock also rises, up .26 to 15.56. Tomorrow is ex-dividend date. Taking Care of Business earnings yesterday were so-so but generally in line with analyst’s expectations.
Stocks/Underlying – High Option Volume
SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) racks up 776,349 contracts as it rises 1.21 to 134.85.
The iShares Silver Trust ETF (NYSE: SLV) is down after yesterday’s rally. SLV drops 1.79 to 44.04 on 559,538 option contracts.
The iShares Russell 2000 Index ETF (NYSE:IWM) is up and trades 204,072 contracts.
Ford (NYSE: F) trades 167,805 options as stock rises .40 to 15.94 on solid earnings report.
Our yummy friends Yum Brands (NYSE: YUM) trades 134,000 options as stock falls following its announced plan to buy out a Chinese partner.
Burney Simpson is the managing editor of InvestorPlace options pages.