Too Many Options: $VIX, $SPY, $CAT, $AUY, $CMCSA, $TOL, $MU

by Enis February 10, 2014 6:49 am • Commentary

Macro instruments continued to dominate options trading volumes, with few traders focusing on single name options.

1.  VIX – The VIX closed at its lowest level since January 23rd, moving about 30% lower from its February 3rd peak over the course of the week.  Calls dominated options volumes, with the Feb 22 and the Feb 17 calls both trading over 100k.  VIX spot’s 1 year high is 21.91 in June of 2013.

2.  SPY – Option volumes on Friday were about 1.6x the 1 month average daily volume.  The Feb22nd 184 calls traded over 100k, and the March 170 puts were the second most traded strike, trading 83k at an average price of 1.18.  SPY closed at its highest level since January 23rd.   The 50 day moving average is the level to watch above current spot, around 181.

3.  CAT – Trader of 40k of the Feb22nd 92.5 / 97.5 call spread for 2.30 to open.  Interesting strikes as the payoff of that call spread is about 1 for 1, with only 2 weeks left until expiry.

4.  AUY – Precious metals miners continue to be some of the best performing stocks in 2014.  In AUY, the March 9 calls traded over 30k at an average price of 0.58, mostly buyer initiated.  AUY has not traded above its 200 day moving average (currently around 10.10) in more than a year.

5.  CMCSA – Looks like a trader rolling the Feb 55 calls out to March.  Sold to close around 20k of the Feb 55 calls at 0.71, and bought around 4500 of the Mar 55 calls for 1.53 and bought around 10k of the Mar 57.5 calls for 0.61.  CMCSA’s all-time (and yearly high) is 54.96.

6.  TOL – Buyer of around 20k of the Sept 37 calls to open for 3.925 average price early in the session.  Break-even on those calls is at 40.925.  TOL has not traded above the $40 since 2005.  Stock reports earnings next in late February.

7.  MU – Put volume actually outnumbered call volume, a rare occurrence for MU.  The stock is trading at a 10 year high.  The March 25 and the Feb22nd 24.5 puts both traded over 10k on Friday.