Here is a list of 15 stocks which traded higher Wednesday on unusually higher volume. I have added all 15 of these stocks to my watch list (and invite you to as well), but chose only a couple to write about in detail in this post. This post requires the knowledge of stock options. To learn more about the option strategies outlined in this post, risks, pricing, calculations, other strategies, and options in general, click here.

The table below shows the company, ticker, Wednesday’s per share % increase, and Wednesday’s volume increase (% increased compared to 50 day average). For your convenience I have ranked the stocks in order from greatest to least volume % change.

Company Ticker Price Change Volume Change
Timberline Resources TLR 60.24% 1213.49%
Sykes Enterprises Inc SYKE 6.65% 706.94%
Talbots Inc TLB 16.53% 531.89%
Enzon Pharmaceuticals ENZN 1.03% 504.59%
Veeco Instruments Inc VECO 4.31% 332.42%
Claude Resources Inc CGR 9.21% 265.31%
Brocade Comm Sys Inc BRCD 1.69% 265.10%
Avanir Pharmaceuticals AVNR 13.62% 219.47%
Tessera Technologies Inc TSRA 4.94% 185.65%
Metabasis Therapeutics MBRX 1.91% 112.12%
G Iii Apparel Group Inc GIII 9.72% 111.18%
Orion Marine Group Inc ORN 6.55% 103.45%
Telvent Git S A TLVT 6.76% 102.17%
Mylan Inc MYL 3.86% 85.62%
Phoenix Companies Inc PNX 12.20% 50.32%

During Wednesday’s trade I noticed one of these stocks which I had been keeping an eye on from the day before, Sykes Enterprise (SYKE). As of Tuesday morning Sykes announced it would be acquiring ICT Group (NASDAQ:ICTG), and rallied on the news. It isn’t too often that the company doing the buying rallies on this type of news, unless they get a super deal. Sykes purchased ICTG for $15.38 a share ($263 million, half in stock and half in cash), and they expect to save $20 million a year from this purchase. So how much higher can this stock go? I believe we could see it above $25 by expiration so Wednesday I purchased several 25 strike call options for the October expiration.

As you may have heard, Brocade has been in the news for takeover talks. This causes the options to explode on this name making it a great candidate for the Buy/Write option strategy. I held shares of Brocade prior to this release, but unfortunately I took $50 a contract for the October 8 strike a couple weeks ago. However as this stock was rising sharply Monday morning I purchased shares and waited until it crossed $9 to write them out. I wrote the shares out for a price 11% higher than the stock price at the time ($10) and took $30 per option contract. This lowered my cost basis to $8.41 a share and if it can get above $10 by expiration I will realize over 18.5%.

With the implied volatility still being high on the option contracts, and just over a week left until the October contracts expire I wouldn’t mind looking to do the buy/write option strategy on the Brocade October 9 strike. As of Wednesday’s close this would lower the cost per share to $8.60 giving a 4.7% return if Brocade can hold these levels until then.

A more bullish strategy would be to look at the contracts for the month ahead. One could purchase an at the money November 9 strike call option, and sell the November 11 strike call option against it (creating a vertical call spread) for $60 per option spread. Break even would be $9.60 at November expiration, and if Brocade traded at or above 11 a share at November expiration this position would yield 233%. However if Brocade did not move and expired at or below $9 a share at November expiration, 100% of the price paid for the spread would be lost ($60).

The ideas outlined above involve the use of stock options. The reason option volumes have surged in the last 5 years is because they are a great way to hedge your portfolio as well as create income off of your shares (see option volume chart).

These are just examples and are not recommendations to buy or sell any security; if you’re more bullish/bearish, you’ll want to adjust the strike price and expiration accordingly.

Disclosure: Long BRCD, SYKE October 25 Call Options, Short: BRCD October 8 & 10 Call Options

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