Today’s tickers: DE, XLF, V, PBR, HPQ, POT, XLB, RF & F

DE– The largest maker of farm equipment in the world has posted second-quarter earnings that exceeded analyst expectations as sales of agricultural machines remained strong even in the midst of global recession. Shares of the Illinois-based company have experienced a rally of more than 1.5% to $44.60 today after the earnings release. Ultra-optimistic Deere-hunters have targeted the July 50 strike price where more than 5,600 calls were purchased for an average premium of 1.78 per contract. The stock will need to rise at least 16% to the breakeven point at $51.78 in order for today’s tractor-enthusiasts to profit by expiration. Option implied volatility dropped as low as 44%, down from yesterday’s closing reading of 53%, but has since been driven back up to the current value of 48%. – Deere & Company

XLF– The financials ETF is off by more than 1% to $11.90, and as usual, has attracted a number of high-roller option investors to exchange more than 329,000 contracts on the fund today. One transaction that caught our eye occurred in the July contract. It appears that one banking sector-bear has sold 21,000 calls at the July 13 strike price for 54 cents each in order to finance the purchase of 21,000 puts at the July 11 strike for an average premium of 71 cents. The net cost of the protective puts amounts to 17 cents and yields profits to the downside beginning at any share price below the breakeven point at $10.83. The pessimistic investor would require that shares of the ETF fall another 9% from the current price so that profits from the long-put position would build by expiration. The XLF was trading below $10.70 back on the first of May and it appears that the put-buying pessimist highlighted above sees shares falling back down by expiration. – Financial Select Sector SPDR

V– Shares of the world’s most recognized global financial services brand have rallied more than 1% to $65.54. The company received a reinstated label of ‘outperform’ at Wachovia Capital Markets this morning and also enticed some bullish option traders to come out and play. Investors looking for significant gains in the stock have targeted the January 2010 80 strike price where more than 7,100 calls were bought for an average premium of 3.02 apiece. These Visa-optimists are hoping for shares to rally by 27% to the breakeven…
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