Friday’s Notable Options Activity: $AMAT, $DISH, $EEM, $FXI, $SPLS, $UPS

by Dan December 8, 2014 9:31 am • Commentary

Here is a list of some untied, generally directional options activity that caught my eye during Friday’s trading:

1. FXI – The Shanghai Composite closed up nearly 10% on the week, and is up another 2.8% overnight.  Call buying was the theme in the iShares China etf for most of the week, with calls trading 2x average daily on Friday, almost 3x that of puts.  Almost half the calls that traded looked to be opening buying of the Jan 45 calls, with 31,500 being bought for .43 when the stock was 41.75

2. EEM – In the iShares MSCI Emerging market etf, which is heavy China, total options volume ran about 1.5x average daily volume, with put volume almost 2x that of calls on Friday.  When the etf was $40.70 shortly after the open, there was a buyer of 20,000 March 35/39 put spreads paying 75 cents to open.

3. DISH – Into the CBS blackout of DISH a trader made a bullish play, selling 3750 March 62.50 puts to buy 3750 of the Mar 77.50 / 90 call spread, paying 1.75 for the package when the stock was 73.50.  This trade structure has an upside break-even of 79.25, with max gains of 10.75 at 90 or higher, with losses below 64.25.

4. UPS – Despite hovering at 52 week and all time highs, the stock remains and underperformer, only up 5% on the year.  When the stock was $110.73 there was a bullish roll in calls where a trader sold 10,000 Jan 115 calls at .90 to close and bought 8,000 April 115 calls to open for 2.21

5. AMAT- Call buying was the theme Friday, with total options volume equaling 3x avg daily with most of the volume in just two strikes.  There was a buyer of 48,000 April 25 calls for about 1.55,  (blocks of 25,000 for 1.60 and 23,00o for 1.50) and was a buyer of 16,000 April 23 calls for 2.68 and 16,000 for 2.55 when stock was between $24.30 and $24.50.  Open interest in both strikes was enough to cover the volume, and the trades were marked closing an untied, so possibly a trader covering an overwrite of long stock as the stock approaches 11 year breakout?

AMAT 15 yr chart from Bloomberg
AMAT 15 yr chart from Bloomberg

6. SPLS – Call volume ran 3x average daily with a buyer of 15,000 March 15 calls for .60 to open, and buyer of the June 15 calls, 18,000 bought to open for .95 to open.