Today’s tickers: WFC, MA, S, ESRX, CREE, RIMM & CELG
WFC Wells Fargo & Co. – Shares have rallied slightly by about 1% to $14.37. Options investors were very active on the stock today, but one trade in particular caught our attention in the May contract where one investor has established a protective collar in conjunction with a large volume-sale of call options as a vehicle to fund the strategy. To initiate the collar, this trader purchased shares of the underlying stock and simultaneously purchased 42,000 puts at the May 12 strike price for a premium of 1.70. The put options serve to protect this investor should shares experience a significant decline over the course of the next two months. The sale of 42,000 calls at the May 20 strike price for 1.00 was established for a couple of reasons. First, the 1.00 premium pocketed on the sale effectively reduces the cost of the put options to just 70 cents apiece. Second, the short position at the upper strike price has effectively given this trader an exit strategy should shares rally to $20.00 by expiration. If such a rally were to occur, the shares could be called away from him at expiration and he would have reeled in gains of 39% on the $5.63 rise in the value of the underlying. Of course, if this scenario were to take place, the puts purchased would expire worthless and the net cost of 70 cents he paid out today would be lost.
MA MasterCard, Inc. Class A – The global payment solutions company is off by more than 4.5% to $159.87. MA appeared on our ‘most active by options volume’ market scanner after one investor took a bullish stance on the company using options. At the May 180 strike price 10,000 calls were purchased for 5.40 apiece while at the May 200 strike 10,000 calls were sold for a premium of 1.40 per contract. The net cost of the trade amounts to 4.00 and yields a maximum potential profit for the investor of 16.0 if shares were to rally up to $200.00 by expiration next month. Shares would need to experience a rally of about 15% from the current price in order to reach the breakeven point at $184.00. MasterCard has not traded above $184.00 since October of 2008, but this investor appears to be optimistic that MA will rebound in the near future.
S Sprint Nextel Corp.…