Friday’s Notable Options Activity: $ALTR, $BBRY, $INTC, $X

by Dan March 30, 2015 6:57 am • Commentary

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

1. ALTR – At 3:32pm on Friday afternoon, The Wall Street Journal reported  that Intel (INTC) was in talks to buy Altera (ALTR) and the stock promptly ripped from $34.75 to close at $44.39, up 28% on the day:

ALTR 2 hour chart from Friday between 2pm and 4pm from Bloomberg
ALTR 2 hour chart from Friday between 2pm and 4pm from Bloomberg

A few savvy traders with quick fingers bought April call options, with 3,000 of the April 36 calls bought to open for 35 cents and 1900 of the April 37 calls bought to open for 15 cents, seconds after the news hit.  On the close the April 36 calls we were worth a little less than $9 and the April 37 calls worth a little less than $8.

4. INTC – total options ran almost 2x average daily with calls outnumbering puts almost 3 to 1. Prior to the WSJ headline, the stock was down on the day and below important technical support at $30. The stock quickly shut up 10% in a straight line and was also accompanied by opening short dated call buying.  The most active strike was the April 2nd (next week expiration) 32.5 calls, with 23,000 trading, many between 10 and 20 cents and trading as high as 76 cents before closing around 46 cents as the stock closed off of the intra-day highs.  While I can understand the excitement of trying to buy a potential takeout candidate I am not sure I get thay buying the shares of the acquirer. The reason is that INTC will be buying a company with only a slightly better growth expectations without obvious synergies.

3. X – saw a bearish roll down and out when the stock was 24.33. A trader sold 10k of the April 22 puts at .40 to close and bought 7k May 21 puts for .72 to open

4. BBRY – total options volume was almost 3x average on a day that the company reported earnings that were a slight beat while sales missed.  The stock opened up about 5% on the day, but by day end only closed up 1.7%.  The largest options block of the day was an opening buy of 10,000 June 9 puts, with the buyer paying .64 cents.