Options Trader: Tuesday Wrapup

by: Philip Davis

As usual, Ben didn't listen to me, although he employed the carrot and stick approach from the other (wrong) end. Rather than tighten one more and say that should do it, which would have made him look firm but kind - he instead spared the rod and let us off with a stern warning.

Now I have 2 small children and I will tell you for a fact that those stern warnings really don't do much to change behavior. He left in my suggested lie about a soft landing in housing but covered himself with the statement "lagged effects" (which I talked about on the weekend) that didn't make the home builders too happy.

They couldn't ignore the decelleration of productivity so they stick with inflation being "likely to moderate" (ie. we sure hope it does). They said some risk of inflation remains and that was the statement that killed the markets - we know there's inflation so the Sept meeting may yet have another hike in it. Only Jeff Lacker was with me voting for a hike, next time I'm inviting him to lunch instead!

The markets were terrible but not terrible enough to stop me from doing some last minute shopping. All of my Monday marks got bounced off of so I took a few trades from this morning in comments as they bottomed out (or so I thought) around 3:20. The Dow held the 50 dma and took a hard bounce off 11,150 despite really bad movement by CAT and BA. The S&P barely bounced off 1,270 right at the end but looked very scary. The NYSE was most encouraging as it bounced off psychological resistance at 8,200, way above it's resistance levels. Then, of course, there was the Nasdaq, doing what the Nasdaq does best - looking very pathetic. But it did hold 2,050 which is all we asked of it.

As expected, oil could not hold $77 but other than a nice SLB day trade in comments, there was not much money to be made on that. There's a great article in the Journal that says what I was ranting about last quarter, that XOM and others are dogging their earnings with accounting tricks! Maybe now you'll believe me.

Our Energy Secretary must be a reader as he used some of my stats to talk down the price of oil today.

If you think it's strange that gold didn't react to the Fed, that's because the gold market closed about 45 minutes before the announcement. Gold still couldn't break $660 on pause anticipation and we will have to see what tomorrow brings.


This was a great day to see my trading rules in action as many of our morning picks were going way the wrong way by the time the Fed made its announcement and made excellent (I hope) afternoon buys.

I took a big chance today that CSCO's earnings would spark a tech rally that will lift the markets tomorrow. I got my earnings, plus a nice outlook so the $17.50s which came in at just .50 will hopefully be a nice winner.

We added the XOM $70s for .65 spread against the Sept $67.50 puts for $1.10 this afternoon so we'll see how that plays out.

The BA $80s came in at just .70 and I couldn't resist them at that price but I could have saved a nickle if I had.

TIF dropped today and looked awful at the close but I took the Jan $35s for $1.

EBAY went so crazy at the end that I missed getting mine and the Oct $25s are already in the money at $2.15 (up 35%).

HD Sept $35s were just too attractive at .90 to pass on.

I thought the GE Sept $32.50s for .65 were a typo so I bought a lot as the stock was only down .35 on the day.

BZH came way down (4%) but stayed there and I picked up the $45s at $1.60 but $45 looks pretty far away at the moment.

I picked up some STX Sept $22.50s for .65 as I thought that was cheap enough but they had what is usually my favorite kind of earnings (sound terrible but are actually pretty good) and dropped 5% in the AH. Luckilly I only bought a few, so perhaps we can look at some longer calls tomorrow as there were many good things in that earnings report.

TEVA is now in day 3 of doing exactly what I say it will do every day. I hate to push it but I still like them through $38.50 but I'd keep a .75 trailing stop on this one.

DIS got hammered on Pixar's questionable option practices (another Jobs company!) and the Sept $30s dropped to .70 (down .10). I'm very glad we didn't take the $30s which fell 30% to .35 with little time to get it back.

OXY took a nice dip today (-2%) but I missed it.

FRK Dec $45s went right back to $1.70 as the stock dropped 3% with the builders. I still like this one but you should have stopped out with a 25% profit or better on a great open.

The other shoe dropped on JOBS and the stock plunged 26% for the day. Too bad we didn't play that one as we were dead on with the action.

On the other hand we didn't play AMT for the same reason (too expensive) and that one went up 2.6% so we lucked out there.

CPKI had a huge day and the Sept $25s are well in the money at $3.30 (up 115%).

PD Sept $90s dropped a buck to $3.20 (down 15%). These should be watched tomorrow as a nice reentry on strength if the dollar drops in Asia (and copper stays up, of course).

HANS continues to search for a bottom but I'm happy with our play there.

GMCR (weekend feature) broke below our $38.50 target but decided to hold $38 so we continue to watch this one and see if we can get our $35 before it turns.