Today’s tickers: HOG, GE, GM, MWW, MAR, YHOO, ALL & C

HOG Harley-Davidson, Inc. – The motorcycle company’s shares have dipped by more than 2% to $17.64 today and have motivated investors to shop for downside protection on the stock. HOG appeared on our ‘most active by options volume’ market scanner after one trader purchased 11,800 puts at the May 15 strike price for a premium of 88 cents per contract. This lot of purchased-puts represents nearly twice the amount of existing open interest at that strike. Should shares fall below the breakeven point at $14.12 by expiration next month the trader will begin to amass profits as shares move lower. From today’s current price, shares would need to fall by another 20% in order to breach the breakeven point described.

GE General Electric – Shares of the Connecticut-based company have rallied by more than 8% to $12.25. Option investors were observed making a mixture of bearish and bullish moves on GE. At the April 12 strike price, 20,000 calls were sold for a premium of 63 cents apiece while the April 12 puts were purchased 24,000 times for an average price of 57 cents per contract. Perhaps investors are banking gains by selling in-the-money calls ahead of expiration on Friday, but also picking up downside protection in case shares reverse direction in the next 4 days. The May 10 strike price witnessed the sale of nearly 16,000 puts for 46 cents and indicates that some traders do not see shares dipping below the breakeven point at $9.54 by next month’s expiration. Finally, the June 13 strike price saw the purchase of 4,600 calls for a premium of 1.06 apiece as some investors are hopeful that shares will breach $14.06 in June. Bullish traders even looked to the June 20 strike price where 2,600 calls were picked up for about 8 cents each. GE’s shares have not traded above $14.06 since January 14th, and have not been above $20.00 since November 4, 2008, but option traders appear to be chomping at the bit – hungry for a meatier GE share price.

GM General Motors, Corp. – Shares are off by more than 16% to $1.70 amid news that the U.S. Treasury has directed the failing automaker to prepare for a bankruptcy filing by June 1, 2009. Option implied volatility has exploded to 324% from Thursday’s reading of 197% as investor uncertainty regarding GM’s future continues…
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