Thursday’s Notable Options Activity: $EWZ, $RSX, $XLI, $CSCO, $PRU

by Enis October 24, 2014 7:32 am • Commentary

Very light single stock options volume on Thursday, as most of the activity remained in ETF options.  The CBOE composite put/call ratio closed at 0.82, its lowest level in a month.

1.  EWZ – The Brazilian elections are on Sunday, and investors have gotten pessimistic on the market as polls have shifted in favor of President Rousseff (see this Reuters article for more details).  EWZ neared its March (and 5 year) low of $38 yesterday:

EWZ daily chart, 50 day ma in pink, 200 day ma in yellow, courtesy of Bloomberg
EWZ daily chart, 50 day ma in pink, 200 day ma in yellow, courtesy of Bloomberg

However, calls were much more active than puts yesterday, trading about 3x more in volume (vs. the 1 month average ratio of 1.4 to 1).  The Oct31st 48 calls traded over 30k at an average price of $0.476, and the Dec 52 / 54 call spread traded 27k for 0.13.

2.  RSX – Russian stocks have also struggled in the past 2 months, exacerbated by a declining Ruble, which is down more than 20% since July.  A trader rolled a put position yesterday in RSX, with 40k of the Oct24th 21.5 puts trading at 0.51 vs. 40k of the Nov 21 puts trading for 0.58.

3.  XLI – A two way structure traded in the morning – 34,700 of the Jan15 50 puts traded at 0.82, vs. 50k of the Dec 54 calls trading for 1.03.  XLI was a leader on the upside yesterday after strong earnings from MMM, UNP, and CAT.

4.  CSCO – CSCO’s bounce has been anemic compared to the rest of the Nasdaq in the past 10 days.  The Nov 23 puts were active yesterday, mostly buyer initiated, trading over 23k at an average price of 0.467.  The company reports earnings on Nov. 12th.

5.  PRU – Life insurers have underperformed in the past month as a result of the drop in long-term rates.  There was a buyer of 15k of the Jan15 87.5 calls for 1.96 in the morning.  PRU reports earnings on Nov. 5th.