Thursday’s Unusual Options Activity: $ALTR, $DE, $GE, $UUP

by Dan April 10, 2015 8:19 am • Commentary

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

1. UUP – the US dollar seeing some pretty healthy gains vs the Euro this week, up about 3.5% since Good Friday, with the Euro now very close to last month’s more than 10 year lows.  At least one trader was looking for continued dollar strength between now and next Friday’s close expressing that view in the UUP.  When the dollar etf was $26.09 a trader paid .21 for 50,000 April 26 calls to open.

2. ALTR – with reports that INTC was no longer in talks to buy ALTR for a rumored sum close to $15 billion, both stocks quickly gave back some of the gains from the prior weeks before reversing course. ALTR’s low for the day was the open, below $39, but spent most of the rest of the session squeezing higher putting in a 12% intra-day reversal and closing up 3% on the day.  When the stock was still down on the day at 10:23am at $40.54 a trader bought an April / Sept 39 put calendar, paying 2.40 for 20,000 to open.  If the stock is above $39 on next week’s close the trader will collect the 80 cents in premium for the April 39 puts and will effectively own the Sept 39 put for 2.40.  This trade could have been a way to finance put protection or to make an outright bearish bet.  ALTR is not scheduled to report until after Apr expiration on the 23rd.

3. DE – the stock is trading right at the mid point of its 2015 range between 84 and 93, and is flat on the year.  When the stock was $88.50 a trader paid 2.25 for 5,000 of the Sept 85/75 put spreads to open.  The 52 week low in the stock is $78.81 made last October, and the stock has not traded at $75 since mid 2012.  The company is not expected to report fiscal Q2 earnings until May 22nd.

4. GE – prior to this morning’s announcement that the company will sell its GE Capital unit and use the proceeds to fund a massive $50 billion stock buyback, calls were very active yesterday at almost 6x average daily volume.  The most active strike was the June 26 calls, with 25,000 trading on the day, but the most curious action appeared to be accumulation of 23,000 of the April 10th weekly 25.50 calls, most looked like they were bought to open, and expire on today’s close.  Those calls closed yesterday at 27 cents, and with the stock trading in the pre-market just below $28 they are certain to be a huge one day gain.