Friday’s Notable Options Activity: $AAPL, $AAL, $GDX, $GLD, $NUAN

by Dan January 12, 2015 7:35 am • Commentary

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

1. GDX – on a day that saw the Gold Miner etf make new 2 month highs, call volume ran hot at almost 2.5x average daily volume.  There was a bullish roll down in Jan 16, trader sells 10,000 Jan 2016 40 calls at .30 to close and pays 1.15 for 10,000 Jan 2016 29 calls when the etf was 20.49

2. GLD – call volume was almost 2.5x average daily volume with calls outnumbering puts 117,000 to 41,000. There appeared to be a buyer accumulating the March 120 calls, with 41,000 trading on the day, with the largest block a buy of 15,700 for 2.26 when the etf was $116.97.

3. NUAN – total options volume ran 6x avg daily volume, with more than half the volume coming in one trade.  When the stock was $13.65 (also a new 52 week low) a trader paid .35 for 20,000 Feb 13 puts to open.  These puts are likely dollar cheap protection for a long, or a fairly reasonable vol purchase into the company’s fiscal Q1 results that should fall in Feb expiration. Implied vol should rise into the mid to high 40s prior to results:

NUAN 1yr chart of 30 day at the money IV from Bloomberg
NUAN 1yr chart of 30 day at the money IV from Bloomberg

NUAN is a voice recognition software maker, which Carl Icahn is the largest shareholder (in their latest filing) with 60,785,ooo shares, or about 19% of the shares outstanding.

4. JCP – after the monster 20% one day move earlier in the week, a trader pays 1.30 for 10,000 of the Feb 9 puts when stock was 7.87, possibly a long holder setting a stop, hard to tell. These are 80 delta options, and seems a bit hefty for a hedge, and expensive given the time left to expiration for an outright bearish bet

5. MCD – for the second time last week, call buying was the story, when stock was 93.32 a trader paid 1.15 for 11,500 Feb 97.50 calls to open.  On Tuesday a trader did the following:

MCD – when stock was 93.43 early in the trading session a trader rolled a bullish view, selling 35,000 Jan 95 calls at .90 to close and bought 35,000 Feb 95 calls for 2.27 to open. 

7. AAL – saw bullish activity, when the stock was 53.05 looked like a trader sold 3500 Feb 48 calls at 6.20 to close and bought 5,000 May 60 calls for 2.89 to open.  AAL also saw what looked like some opening put selling, when stock was 52.66, 5000 of the March 50 puts were sold at 22.85

8. UAL – saw a bullish roll, when stock was 65.53 a trader sold 5000 jan 65 calls at 1.90 to close and bought 5000 Feb 65 calls for 4.37 to open.  Friday seemed like one of the few days in the last few weeks where crude oil declined and airline stocks did with it.  No worries though, they keep buying calls 🙂

9. RAD – saw what looked like an opening overwrite of long stock,when stock was 7.78 a trader sold 10,000 of the Aug 8 calls at .90 to open, offering a call-away level of 8.90, up 14%

10. DD – Trian fund launched a proxy fight for board representation as expected, stock opened very near a new all time high. Shortly after the open when the stock was 75.22 a trader sold to close 10,000 Jan 23rd exp 74.5 calls at 1.84 to close.  Options volume ran 2.5x average daily volume with calls outnumbering puts more than two to one, but at least some call activity looked to be closing.

11. AAPL – total options volume ran almost 1.5x avg daily with calls outnumbering puts almost 2 to 1.  Two of the five most active single stock options were both Jan (next week expiration) calls in AAPL, with 28,500 of the Jan 115 calls trading, and 25,900 Jan 112 calls trading.