Today’s tickers: PALM, AA, UNG, FXI, IYR, YGE, VRTX & XLF
PALM– Shares are up more than 9% to $13.67 just two days prior to the much anticipated release of Palm’s touch-screen handset, The Pre. While some reviews of the new product suggest The Pre is attractive and innovative, others have indicated that it cannot hold a candle to Apple’s iPhone. The real test will begin in two days when the phone goes on sale to the public, exclusively through U.S. carrier, Sprint Nextel Corp. (S). A number of option traders are hoping The Pre will wow consumers and subsequently boost Palm’s shares as they were seen getting long of bullish calls in the near-term June contract. More than 4,300 calls were snapped up at the June 16 strike price for a premium of 29 cents apiece. Other Pre-optimists paid just a dime per contract to pick up 2,000 calls at the higher June 20 strike price. If Palm’s new product pleases the masses, investors long of June 20 calls may realize profits if shares can climb 47% to the breakeven point at $20.10 by expiration. – Palm, Inc.
AA– The world leader in the production of primary aluminum has experienced a significant share price rally of more than 7.5% to $10.83 after the firm announced that it sees “great opportunity” for growth in Russia. Alcoa has invested some $750 million over the past five years. A large-volume call spread initiated in the October contract suggests at least one investor is hoping for continued bullish movement in the stock over the next several months. The transaction involved the purchase of 12,600 calls at the October 12.5 strike price for a premium of 1.02 apiece spread against the sale of 12,600 calls at the higher October 17.5 strike for about 23 cents. The net cost of the optimistic play amounts to 79 cents and yields maximum potential profits of 4.21 if shares rally up to $17.50 by expiration. The stock must climb approximately 23% before the investor begins to amass profits at the breakeven point of $13.29. – Alcoa, Inc.
UNG– Recovering from losses experienced earlier in the trading day, the natural gas ETF has rallied slightly by about 0.5% to $14.37. We observed an interesting play initiated by one trader once we skipped over all of the nearer-term activity on the fund to arrive at the January 2010 contract. The investor, looking for massive gains…