Monday’s Notable Options Activity: $XLE, $XLB, $GDX, $FCX, $SPLS, $C

by Enis September 23, 2014 6:30 am • Commentary

Options volumes were relatively light even with the pop in the VIX on the market selloff.  Commodity-related ETFs had the most active options activity.

1.  XLE – XLE closed just above its 200 day ma, the importance of which I highlighted in yesterday’s CotD post:

XLE is also testing its rising 200 day ma today:

XLE daily chart, 200 day ma in yellow, courtesy of Bloomberg

XLE is still up 4% year-to-date, and EOG is still up 20% year-to-date, but energy stocks are at an important inflection point in the context of the strong uptrend of the last 2 years.

Looks like another put roll traded, as 13k of the Oct 95 puts traded at 3.10 to close, against 27,800 of the Jan15 89 puts for 2.30 to open.  XLE’s unchanged level for the year is $88.51.

2.  XLB – Buyer of around 25k of the Oct18th 50 puts for 0.467 around noon.  XLB actually touched a new all-time high yesterday morning before closing lower.  If XLB cannot hold above $50, the key support level for the materials ETF is $48.

3.  GDX – Precious metals have sold off hard since mid-July.  GDX closed just above the key $22 support level that has held since January.  The ETF is still up 4% year-to-date even with the aggressive selling, but this is a key technical spot.  The Dec 25 calls traded over 20k on the session at an average price of 0.46.

4.  FCX – FCX hit its lowest level since April.  Buyer of 15k of the Nov 30 puts for 0.35 midday.  FCX has not traded below $30 since August 2013, and its 5 year low is $26.37 from June 2013.

5.  SPLS – The retailer has struggled to get above the $13 resistance level, which was the reason why we exited our long call position for a profit in SPLS 3 weeks ago.  Interesting trade yesterday, where the trader sold the Oct 13 puts to open.  The line traded over 25k at an average price of 0.43.

6.  C – The Jan15 50 / 55 call spread traded 12k times at 2.90 in the afternoon, possibly a trader rolling a long call position up.  Citigroup’s 5 year high is $55.28 from January of this year.