Today’s tickers: MSFT, XLF, VRTX, X, MT, TIF, JCG & AIG
MSFT Microsoft Corporation – Some option traders laughed in the face of a 2% decline in MSFT’s shares and were seen making some bullish plays on the stock which currently stands at $19.16. One trade of note was the sale of 5,000 puts at the July 17 strike price for a premium of 90 cents apiece spread against the purchase of 5,000 calls at the July 22 strike price for 74 cents each. This optimistic investor accepts a 16 cent credit on the trade and appears to be looking for shares to rally by about 19% through the breakeven point at $22.74 by expiration. Other bullish investors selected the July 23 strike price where more than 11,000 calls were purchased for an average premium of 44 cents per contract.
XLF Financial Select Sector SPDR – Shares of the XLF have plunged more than 5% to $10.50 today. However, we observed one options investor looking for a recovery in financials by September’s expiry. The financials ETF was one of the top tickers on our ‘most active by options volume’ market scanner with more than 406,000 contracts traded throughout the day. The trade we chose to highlight involved the purchase of 20,000 puts at the September 8.0 strike price for 80 cents apiece spread against the sale of 10,000 puts sold for a premium of 2.79 per contract. This ratio spread yields a credit of 1.19 to the trader (2.79*1 – 0.80*2 = 1.19). The investor will retain the full credit if shares rise through $12.00 by expiration in September. The purchase of twice as many puts at the lower 8.0 strike price serves to cap the investor’s losses at a maximum of 2.81 should shares continue to fall all the way to $8.00 by expiration.
VRTX Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. – The pharmaceuticals company has seen its shares give back gains experienced earlier in the trading day, and is currently off by less than 1% to stand at $27.10. Option implied volatility has jumped from 72% yesterday to the current value of 82% amid unconfirmed rumors reported by one source that Johnson & Johnson may be eyeing VRTX. Option traders took bullish stances on the company by purchasing calls in the April and May contracts. The in-the-money April 25 strike price had 1,100 calls bought for 3.27 apiece, while the April 30 strike had some 5,300 calls…