Options Trader: Monday Morning Ideas

by: Philip Davis

Tempting though it may be, I'm not playing today. Let's see how it all plays out, but there is no way to predict what will happen now through Wednesday as not only do we not know who will win what, but we don't know who wants who to win what...

And even if they win, we won't know who won until the lawyers get done arguing about hanging chads or fixed voting machines or whatever the fad is this year...

So I maintain my 75% cash position (new spreadsheet will be up tonight as I was too far behind to finish it this weekend) with a heavy dose of December oil puts.

Hong Kong is still on a tear, with another 186 point gain (4th straight record high) while the Nikkei traded flat. The rest of Asia was pretty good but Pakistan is still in freefall.

Europe is in a pretty good mood this morning and we'll see if that lasts past the U.S. open. This is a little surprising as 10% of France's population lost power on Saturday as well as 5 other countries.

The London Stock Exchange is in talks with the Tokyo Stock Exchange, further disenfranchising our local boys as America slips further down the ladder as an international monetary power.

Saddam isn't even making the headlines the GOP had hoped as the verdict was no surprise and the timing is just too suspicious for people to take it seriously.

Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. (MER) is being investigated along with several other major private equity firms as to whether there is any collusion in buyouts (gee, ya think?).

We should get a strong open so let's see what holds today:

  • Dow 12,000 obviously
  • S&P would be nice if it stays over 1,370 but, if it can't break it, remain concerned
  • NYSE will be a big trouble sign below 8,700 but a very good sign if they get back over 8.800
  • The Nasdaq needs to firm up 2,325 as a floor, the chance of it breaking out of 2,375 before Wednesday is minimal

The SOX need to break and hold 455 or the Nasdaq should be avoided, and Samsung just gave guidance that left a bit to be desired. The transports hopefully have downside resistance at 2,500 but face very strong overhead resistance at 2,570.

Of course the transports are going to respond to oil which should be very disappointed that Nigerian Rebels failed to blow something up over the weekend and that the BP PLC (NYSE:BP) bomb threat was a hoax.

At this point I'm not even going to expect fundamentals to kick in; I'll just be pleasantly surprised if they do. The only real winner we had all week was the Murphy Oil Corp. (NYSE:MUR) Dec $50 puts which went from $1.75 to $4.60 (up 163%) before shenanigans forced us out on Halloween, but I am hoping to see that kind of damage inflicted on other oil stocks over the next few weeks (but probably not in time to resuscitate dead November puts).

Oil is still trending down and I think they may take a real turn if the Democrats take the Senate but that's a real long shot. Zman says it's going to be warmfor the next few weeks and AccuWeather agrees, but CNBC is running analysts who say oil will be up with cold weather coming in -- these guys are beyond desperate!

Z likes Berry Petroleum Co. (BRY) (11/8) as a straddle, but I'm just going to take them as a very risky Prop 87 gamble since I can win there OR I can win if they disappoint on Wednesday. The $30 puts are .70 and this is absolutely a crap roll bet!

Our Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:APC) $50s we took as a cover for .60 back on 10/26 and again for .20 on 11/2 may finally pay off today although they have a long way to go to make up for the .60 we lost on the puts! APC is selling $1B worth of oil sites to Statoil ASA (NYSE:STO) ahead of earnings, which should be good, but I'm selling into the initial excitement!

Let's see if we can get oil back below our $58.56 mark before we throw and parties but as long as $59 holds up as a ceiling I'm pretty content.

Gold should have a bit of trouble at $630 and we talked about my gold plays over the weekend if it breaks above.

The dollar will hopefully stop falling today but I'm not counting on that as it has firm resistance here at 85.88 from a collapsing 50 DMA.


  • Like I said, no picks today -- in fact I'm heading off to some meetings -- but let's watch Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) as XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (XMSR) had a great report which should help us too.
  • General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM) should get a boost from a settlement with Delphi today and it may be a "sell on the news" kind of event.
  • Something is going on with Ultra Petroleum Corp. (UPL) in the pre-market and our Dec $50 puts are up just .15 at $2.05. After the earnings I felt pretty confident with these but there wasn't much of a drop yet...

So be very, very careful out there today!

I'll be on shenanigans watch, and I'll check in later in the afternoon...

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