Today’s tickers: MAS, HES, WHR, ORCL, NVAX, BMRN, TIVO & OI
MAS Masco Corporation – The manufacturer and distributor of home improvement and building products has experienced a share price decline of more than 2% to $9.85 ahead of its earnings report scheduled for release after the market closes today. One option investor took a decidedly bearish stance on the stock by selling short 10,000 calls at the May 10 strike price for an average premium of 69 cents per contract. On the put side, some 2,700 contracts were purchased for an average of 24 cents apiece at the May 7.5 strike price as investors appear to be looking to profit from continued downward movement in shares by expiration in May. In order to profit to the downside, shares would need to continue to fall by another 26% from the current price to breach the breakeven point at $7.26.
HES Hess Corporation – Shares of the global energy company have dipped by more than 3% to $54.34. Despite the share price erosion, option traders have been getting bullish on the stock by jumping into calls in the May contract. The May 65 strike price had more than 6,100 calls purchased for an average premium of 53 cents apiece while the May 70 strike attracted a smaller volume of some 1,800 calls picked up for 30 cents each. We are not certain of the motivation for the increased option activity on the stock today, but we did notice one news report which stated that Credit Suisse posited Hess Corp. was unlikely to be acquired by Exxon. Option implied volatility on the stock jumped as high as 61% today up from the closing value on Friday of 51%.
WHR Whirlpool Corporation – The home appliances manufacturer has jumped more than 8.5% to stand at $44.28 per share. Earlier in the day shares were up 20% – the biggest intraday climb for WHR in at least 29 years – after the company reported first-quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations. The company has cut costs as well as curtailed a post-retirement benefit plan which added about 84 cents to earnings surprising the street which had anticipated a loss of 18 cents per share for the company. Whirlpool also reported that it expects to earn a profit of between 3 to 4 dollars for 2009. Option traders gobbled up the bearish breakfast and were seen buying some 3,000 puts at…