Thursday Options Brief: K, GBX & EBAY

 |  Includes: EBAY, GBX, K
by: Interactive Brokers

K - Kellogg Co. - Shares in consumer food products company, Kellogg, are roughly flat on the session, down less than 0.10% at $64.54 as of 11:30 a.m. ET. Options activity on the stock this morning suggests one strategist is bracing for the price of the underlying to pullback a bit during the next few weeks. Shares in the maker of Froot Loops and Frosted Mini-Wheats, up roughly 25% since this time last year, hit a record high of $64.75 yesterday. Overall options volume in excess of 2,400 contracts in play on Kellogg this morning is more than two times the stock's average daily volume, with the put-to-call ratio topping 5-to-1 as of the time of this writing. Most of the trading traffic in Kellogg options is in the front month puts, with upwards of 1,700 lots changing hands at the April $62.5 strike versus open interest of 519 contracts. It looks like most of the $62.5 strike calls were purchased in the early going at an average premium of $0.20 apiece. Traders long the contracts may profit at expiration next month if shares in Kellogg decline more than 3.0% from the current price of $64.54 to breach the effective breakeven point at $62.30.

GBX - Greenbrier Companies, Inc. - Options on the manufacturer of railroad freight car equipment and ocean-going marine barges are more active than usual this morning after the company announced yesterday it received new orders for 5,400 railcar units values at around $575 million in January, February and March. Shares in the name rallied more than 7.5% on Thursday morning to touch a new 52-week high of $22.98. Traders looking for shares in Greenbrier to extend gains in the near term snapped up front month calls. The April $25 strike calls attracted the most volume, with upwards of 420 lots in play against open interest of 47 contracts. It looks like most of the calls were purchased during the first 15 minutes of the session at a premium of $0.25 each. Call buyers stand ready to profit at April expiration in the event that shares in GBX jump 10% to top the average breakeven price of $25.25. The company reports second-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell next Thursday. Overall options volume on Greenbrier is greater than 1,100 contracts, or roughly three times the stock's average daily volume, as of midday on the East Coast.

EBAY - eBay, Inc. - Weekly calls changing hands on eBay this morning look for shares in the provider of online payment services and online marketplaces to rise following the holiday weekend. Shares in the name are struggling to remain positive in early-afternoon trading, with the stock roughly flat on the day at $52.05 as of 12:25 p.m. ET. Traders anticipating gains in the price of the underlying shares next week picked up April 05 '13 $52.5 strike calls, with upwards of 4,000 lots exchanged as of the time of this writing. Time and sales data suggests most of the $52.5 strike weekly contracts were purchased at an average premium of $0.86 apiece during the first half of the session. Call buyers may profit at expiration next week should shares in EBAY rally 2.5% over the current price of $52.05 to surpass the average breakeven point at $53.36.