Your midday options trading update.
Flextronics International, Ltd. (NASDAQ: FLEX) — The Singapore-based provider of electronics manufacturing services popped up on our scanners after one big player sold a massive straddle in the July contract. Shares in FLEX are currently up 5.0% at $8.14 as of 11:55 am in New York. The sizable straddle play composed of a total of 49,000 FLEX options is almost on par with the overall level of open interest on FLEX options of 56,483 contracts. The straddle-strategist sold 24,500 FLEX July 8 Calls for a premium of 70 cents each, and sold 24,500 FLEX July 8 Puts for a premium of 60 cents apiece. Gross premium pocketed on the transaction amounts to $1.30 per contract. The trader keeps the full premium received on the sale as long as shares in FLEX settle at $8.00 at expiration in July. It looks like the investor is reeling in time-rich, in-the-money call premium as well as just out-of-the-money put premium, in the expectation that volatility will come off and FLEX shares will remain around this level. In this case, the trader keeps some of the premium received and staves off losses unless shares in FLEX swing above the upper breakeven price of $9.30, or slip beneath the lower breakeven point at $6.70. The short stance in both call and put options expose the trader to potentially devastating losses in the event that shares work against him in the next few months.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) — Options on the biopharmaceutical company are more active than usual perhaps after Goldman Sachs recommended buying calls on the stock. According to Bloomberg, a Goldman analyst suggested the BMY April 26 Calls may be a good buy given expectations of rising volatility and an upcoming U.S. regulatory decision regarding its treatment for melanoma. Shares increased as much as 2.2% during the session thus far to secure an intraday high of $25.96. Calls at the April 26 strike are active, but it looks like a larger proportion of the volume was employed to initiate a different strategy. An investor sold 10,000 BMY April 24 Puts for a premium of 29 cents each, and bought the same number of BMY April 28 Calls for a premium of 10 cents-a-pop. The trader pockets a net credit of 19 cents per-contract on the transaction, and keeps the full amount of premium as long as shares in BMY exceed $24.00 through April expiration. Additional profits start to accumulate if BMY shares surge 7.9% over today’s high of $25.96 to trade above $28.00 by expiration day next month. More than 51,790 option contracts have changed hands on BMY as of 1:15pm in New York. Options implied volatility is up 7.1% at 21.93% in early-afternoon trade.
Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) — Options traders breakfasted on Chiquita call options this morning despite the 4.2% drop in the price of the underlying to an intraday low of $14.90. The manufacturer of fresh produce opened higher, but quickly reversed course during the session and currently stands 2.5% lower on the day at $15.16 just before 11:45 am. CQB shares slipped in extended trade yesterday after the firm’s fourth-quarter results missed estimates. Investors expecting the price of the underlying to improve in the next few months picked up in-the-money call options in the May contract. More than 3,280 calls changed hands at the May $15 strike versus previously existing open interest of just 352 contracts. The overwhelming majority of these calls appear to have been purchased for an average premium of $1.66 apiece. Call buyers make money in the event that Chiquita’s shares surge 9.9% over the current price of $15.16 to surpass the average breakeven point to the upside at $16.66 by May expiration. The overall reading of options implied volatility on CQB is down 20.6% to 52.63% post earnings.
Total System Services, Inc. (NYSE: TSS) — Shares in the provider of electronic payment processing services ticked up 3.05% today to touch an intraday – and two-year – high of $18.54. Investors expecting the uptrend in TSS shares to continue scooped up call options right out of the gate this morning. TSS was raised to ‘Overweight’ from ‘Equal Weight’ with a share price target of $22.00 at Stephens this week. Bullish players hoping to see the stock hit new highs in the coming months purchased more than 2,000 TSS May 20 Calls for a premium of 20 cents per contract. Investors long the calls stand prepared to profit should shares in TSS jump 8.95% over today’s high of $18.54 to surpass the effective breakeven point at $20.20 by May expiration day. Shares in TSS last traded above $20.20 back in August 2008.
Andrew Wilkinson is senior market analyst with Interactive Brokers, the professional’s gateway to the world’s markets.