Today’s tickers: YHOO, MMR, FXI, CI, HOG, KFT, NUAN& VMC
YHOO Yahoo!, Inc. – Shares have rallied by more than 2% to $14.32 amid news that the company is seeking buyers for its HotJobs employment website and has plans to cut some 200 to 500 jobs. Perhaps investor confidence has been bolstered by the past few months with CEO Carol Bartz at the helm as the stock has risen about 29% from its January 2009 low of around $11.03 up to today’s price. Option investors were seen taking bullish stances on the stock in the May and October contracts. At the May 15 strike price 26,600 calls were purchased for an average premium of 77 cents apiece. Shares would need to rise by another 10% in order to breach the breakeven point on the trade at $15.77 by expiration in May. Further along, the October 12 strike price witnessed the sale of 2,100 puts for a premium of 1.30 each. Some traders were showing caution in the May contract by purchasing 4,500 puts at the May 14 strike price for 99 cents should shares experience a decline in the near future. These put options would begin to provide downside protection or profits beginning at the breakeven point to the downside at $13.01. Option implied volatility on Yahoo! is up sharply today to 74% from yesterday’s reading of 67%.
MMR McMoRan Exploration Co. – Shares of the oil and natural gas company have declined slightly by less than 1% today to stand at $5.22. Despite the fall in share price, one investor does not see shares falling much further as he sold more than 14,000 puts at the May 5.0 strike price for a premium of 50 cents apiece. There is currently no open interest at the May 5.0 strike, and thus this trader accepts the 50 cent premium in exchange for bearing the risk that shares fall beneath the breakeven point to the downside at $4.50. Should shares plummet through the breakeven point, the investor would face increasing losses in proportion with declines in the stock. The puts traded today represent nearly 40% of the existing open interest on the stock of 38,000 contracts. While we do not know the exact motivation for the trade, we do know that shares need only decline by 13% from the current price for this investor to face losses.