Too Many Options: $AIG, $CX, $DG, $EMC, $GDX, $JPM, $RIG

by Dan March 13, 2014 5:09 pm • Commentary

Here is a list of some of the most interesting options activity that caught our eyes today:

1. AIG – the largest options block of a single stock traded in the name where a buyer paid .23 for 45,000 of the May 55 calls to close when the stock was $48.70.  There was 59,500 open interest in the strike, and this was likely a long holder closing an overwrite.  As part of the same trade, 7500 of the May 50 calls were sold to close at 1.30.

2. SUNE – continues to see immense call activity as highlighted in this space over the last few weeks.  Today a trader rolled down some calls, selling 30,000 of the April 22 calls at .73 to close and bought 29,000 of the April 20 calls for 1.50 to open.  Total open interest in the stock sits at 380,000 calls to 106,000 puts.

3. EMC – saw some call buying in the morning, a trader bought 14,000 of the July 30 calls for 42 cents,they look closing, could have been part of an overwrite as there is 21,000 open interest in the strike.  The March 27 calls were also active with 16,000 trading on the day, also closing.

4. CX – the Mexican building products company saw some heavy options volume today with what looked like a large roll in calls.  A trader sold 18,500 of the Jan15 15 calls at .66 to close and bought 18,500 of the Jan16 15 calls for 1.58 to open.

5. DG – on a day that saw the company lower forward guidance, a trader sold out of a prior bullish bet selling 20,000 of the May 62.50 calls at .75 to close when the stock was $57.91.

6. RIG – Last week we highlighted some unusual activity in the name (here), what appeared to be bearish flow then continues into this week as the stock just made fresh 10 year lows and breaking massive technical support.  Options traded 6.5x average daily volume with 34,000 of the May 37 Puts being bought on the day, with the largest block of 11,200 being bought for .70 when the stock was 39.76.  Earlier in the week we made a defined risk play that the stock would hold prior support (here).

7. JPM – stock showed decent relative strength today down only 86 bps to the XLF and the SPX down about 1.1% each.  There was one large block of options that traded where it appeared that a buyer paid .88 for 20,000 June 52.50 puts when the stock was 57.34.  These were likely tied to stock on a 22 delta, so could have been a directional play or a partial hedge.

8. GDX – the once maligned etf made new highs on the year today, breaking out of its recent consolidation and options activity saw traders position for more upside.  There were buyers of the June 27 calls, with the largest block of the day a buy of 7500 for 2.39, these looked to be closing and could have also been a long holder closing an overwrite, 21,000 traded on the day, there was 58,000 open interest in the strike.  There was also an opening buyer of 10,000 of the April 26/29 call spread paying about 1.33 to open.

9. XLF – the etf saw some short dated put buying, but much of it looking like it was closing short positions.  There was a buyer of 10,000 April 22 puts for .50 when the etf was 21.97, while the March 22 puts were the most active line in the name with 16,000 trading.

10. RSX – Russian equities remain under pressure, with the etf that tracks them approaching new 5 year lows and extending this year’s losses to just above 23%.  Options volumes continue to run hot, today reaching about 5x average daily volume, with the two most active lines the March 20 puts and the March 23 puts with 32,000 and 11,000 trading respectively.  The largest block trade was a buy of 15,000 of the March 20 puts with the buyer paying .35 to open when the etf was $21.08.