Your intraday options trading update.
No Weekly options this week appears to be translating into lower volume today. As this is the real, i.e. old-fashioned, expiration week, the exchanges did not add Weekly options to the product mix. The May 2011 options see their last day of trading on Friday, May 20. The Weekly options for the week beginning May 23 will be announced on Thursday, May 19.
Susquehanna Financial Group releases a midday report on some of the major activity in the options market. It notes a seller in the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD) conducted a closing trade, selling 25,000 in each of the May 143/146/149 Call strikes, grabbing premium of $1.04 on the Butterfly Spread transaction.
The SPDR KBW Bank ETF (NYSE: KBW) is receiving call buyers, including purchase of 5,000 KBW June 25 Calls for .575. This follows last week’s purchase of 15,000 of calls in the strike, according to Susquehanna.
In the Consumer Staples Select SPDR (NYSE: XLP) an investor sells 3,200 of the XLP June 31 Calls and buys the XLP June 32 Calls, and gathers premium of .76. XLP is up .03 to 32.15.
A trader in the SPDR S&P Retail (NYSE: XRT) isn’t as positive. Susquehanna notes a trader bought to open 15,000 XRT Dec 44 Puts for 1.27. The theory is the investor seeks to protect from a downside move in the XRT as retailers head into the holiday shopping season. XRT is down .55 to 53.55.
High Options Volume by Strike
The SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD) is up a moderate .18 to 145.81 but option strikes are very active. The GLD May 146 Call has traded 55,000 options as it trades down .08 to 1.14. Meanwhile the GLD May 149 Call and GLD May 143 Call each trade more than 25,000 contracts.
Strikes in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) are solidly active across the board with the SPY May 133 Put trading nearly 54,000 contracts as it trades down .18 to .64. SPY May Put 135, 134s, 132s, 130s all trading more than 27,000 contracts and all down as SPY rises .12 to 134.16.
The iShares Russell 2000 Index ETF (NYSE: IWM) sees its IWM May 83 Put trade up .02 to .90 on nearly 24,000 contracts.
Major Stock Trading Volume Movers
Primedia (NYSE: PRM) is up 2.62 to 7.00 on 5 million shares as TPG Capital launches a $7.10 per share offer for the real estate directory firm, or about $525 million.
Orthovita (NASDAQ: VITA) trades more than 30.2 million shares, up 1.09 to 3.82. Stryker Corp. (NYSE: SYK) wants to buy VITA for $316 million or $3.85 a share, according to reports. Orthovita provides bone related fusion, regeneration and fixation products. Stryker is a medical technology and equipment firm.
NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX) and Nasdaq OMX Group (NASDAQ: NDAQ) each trade large as NDAQ and partner IntercontinentalExchange (NYSE: ICE) announce they have stopped their $11 billion pursuit of NYX. NDAQ trades about 6.3 million shares and is down .18 to 26.73. NYX is down 4.41 to 36.47 on 12 million shares. ICE is way up, trading at 124.67, a rise of more than 5%.
In response, traders turn to CBOE Holdings (NASDAQ: CBOE) as speculation abounds it is takeover target. CBOE trades 360,000 shares by lunch, up from 280,000 daily average, and stock rises .80 to 27.74.
Find more option analysis and trading ideas at Options Trading Strategies.
Stocks/Underlying – Big Daily Change in Option Volume
The Nasdaq OMX sees 11,265 options change hands, an increase of nearly 1,000%.
General Maritime (NYSE: GMR) trades about 6,000 options, a rise of about 2300%, as stock drops .02 to 2.05. Last week crude oil transporter reported nearly $32 million for its first quarter.
L-1 Identity Solutions (NYSE: ID) trades 10,200 options as takeover from Safran is delayed. Reports are short interest in ID has quadrupled since January. ID is down about 3% to 10.46.
Stocks/Underlying – High Option Volume
Top equity is chip maker Micron Tech. (NASDAQ: MU) with 85,000 options traded, as stock rises about 2.8% to 10.77.
The SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY) has option volume of about 642,000 contracts as SPY trades higher. The Standard & Poor’s Index Options (CBOE: SPX) is up .74 to 1338.51 on about 233,000 option contracts.
The iShares Silver Trust (NYSE: SLV) trades more than 221,000 options as it falls back, down .66 to 33.73. The SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD) is rallying and trades 153,000 options.
The CBOE Volatility Index (CBOE: VIX) is up a minor .04 to 17.11 with 197,000 options trading against the Fear Gauge.
The iShares Russell 2000 Index ETF (NYSE: IWM) trades 120,000 options.
Burney Simpson is the managing editor of InvestorPlace options pages.