Too Many Options: $VIX, $EEM, $FXI, $TUR, $GDX, $AMJ, $GE, $HTZ

by Enis February 20, 2014 8:48 am • Commentary

ETFs were much more active on Wednesday relative to single stock options.  Stock volumes also hit their highest level since February 7th, which was Payrolls Friday, and VIX spot closed at its highest level since February 6th.

1.  VIX – Late in the day, a buyer of 122k of the March 26 calls for 0.25.  Someone also put on our preferred structure, selling the March 14 put to buy the March 16/20 call spread.

2.  EEM – EEM options volume was more than 2x the average one month daily volume.  The weekly 39.5 calls and weekly 39 puts both traded over 100k.  Largest single print was from a trader who sold 83k March 35 puts at .15 to close, and bought 72k Jan 34/30 put spreads for .81 to open.

3.  FXI – Some bullish call activity in the China ETF ahead of the overnight PMI numbers (which came in weak).  Two 1×2 call spreads were bought in good size: FXI November 36/42 (1X2) call spread bought 15k by 30k for $1.05,
FXI Aug 36/42 (1X2) call spread bought 15k by 30k for $1.21.

4.  TUR – Seller of 25k of the March 40 puts at 0.70 to open.  TUR, the Turkey ETF, has not traded below $40 since mid-2009.  TUR options open interest before that trade was only around 50k across all strikes and maturities.

5.  GDX – GDX fell back to near its 200 day moving average, which is around the $25 level.  Most active line was the March 27 calls, which were bought around 24k times for 0.92 early in the session, but closed at 0.58.

6.  AMJ – This ETN (exchange-traded note) tracks the Alerian Master Limited Partnership Index, made up of energy MLP’s.  Trader bought 20k of the March 45 puts for 0.40 midday.  The Feb 45 puts have 25k of open interest and expire on Friday, so possibly same trader buying new protection.

7.  HTZ – Buyer of the March 26/24 1×2 put spread for about $0.25.  HTZ reports earnings next week, and has not traded below the $22 level (where trade starts to lose more than the $0.25 in premium) in the past 10 months except for a few days in the fall.