Too Many Options: Phone Saga Continues

by Enis October 11, 2012 4:34 pm • Commentary

For the second straight day, the phone drama dominated U.S. options volume.  Coal names also showed a ton of call interest as rotation from year-to-date winners to losers continued:

  1. S – Softbank potentially taking a 70% stake in Sprint led to more than 100k of the Nov 6 and Oct 6 calls to trade, as implied vol spiked from all the options buying.
  2. CLWR – CLWR stock trades like an option itself, as the stock nearly doubled today on the Softbank news, as Clearwire (49% owned by Sprint) is building a network based on a standard known as TDD-LTE, the preferred technology of Softbank.  The Nov 2.50 calls have traded more than 50k on aggressive buying.
  3. PCS – PCS implied volatility in Oct and Nov got crushed yesterday after Sprint said they would take up to 3 months to place a counter bid for PCS.  But rumors today from the Nikkei news service that Softbank might be buying Sprint in order to bid for PCS brought back aggressive bids for Oct and Nov options in PCS, sending implied vol 10 points higher.  The Oct 12 calls, Oct 11 puts, and Nov 12 puts were the most traded lines.
  4. AMD – The Jan13 calls traded more than 40k times, around 0.50, driven by buying, with the bulk of the activity coming in the morning.  The stock is down 60% since its spring highs, and reports earnings on Oct. 18th.
  5. BTU – The coal space had many names rallying 5-20%.  BTU saw 3.5x normal options volume, with the Oct 24 and Oct 25 calls the most active lines.
  6. ACI – ACI saw 4 times normal options volume, again dominated by calls, with the Oct 8 and Nov 7 calls the most actively traded.  The stock closed up 15.75%
  7. FAST – The stock jumped 8% on strong sales growth and a decent earnings number.  The options traded 11x normal volume, with Oct 46 calls trading more than 2k, and Nov 38 puts and Oct 45 puts trading more than 1500.
  8. DLTR – Stock was down 7.5% after it cut guidance midday, citing higher gas prices, election uncertainty, and consumer malaise for the cut.  Short term position adjustments reigned supreme, as the Oct 42.5 puts and Oct 45 calls were the most traded lines.
  9. OSK – Carl Icahn announced a tender offer for OSK midday, citing the company’s sum-of-the-parts worth much more notwithstanding current management’s incompetence.  The Oct 30 puts were the most actively traded line (and Oct 29 puts 3rd most), as traders stepped in to buy short-term protection in case the offer falls apart.
  10. AAPL – The top 10 options lines in AAPL were evenly split between puts and calls, a relatively rare occurrence, but an indication that the purely bullish viewpoint in options has lost some followers.  However, of the top 20 lines, calls were still dominant.