Wednesday Options Brief: CTRP, STR & LPX

Includes: CTRP, LPX, STR
by: Interactive Brokers International, Ltd. (NASDAQ:CTRP)Shares of the online Chinese travel company are up more than 6.15% to $38.80 this morning following better-than-expected first-quarter results from the firm. After the closing bell on Tuesday posted first-quarter profits of $0.19 per share on revenue of $86 million, which beat average earnings estimates of $0.18 a share on revenue of $80.6 million. Options investors displayed bullish sentiment on the stock by selling short put options in the June contract. Approximately 2,800 puts were shed at the June $36 strike for an average premium of $1.78 apiece. Put sellers retain the full $1.78 premium pocketed today as long as shares of the underlying stock exceed $36.00 through June expiration. Investors short the put options are apparently happy to have CTRP shares put to them at an effective price of $34.22 each should the puts land in-the-money at expiration. Options implied volatility is down 13.5% to 52.99% following the first-quarter earnings report.

Questar Corp. (NYSE:STR) Near-term call options on natural gas distributor, Questar Corp., are flying off the shelves in early trading with shares of the underlying stock rallying 3.90% to an intraday high of $48.38. Options traders exchanged more than 11,000 calls at the May $50 strike – which touts paltry existing open interest of 593 contracts – by 11:00 am (ET). It looks like the majority of the call activity at that strike is the work of bullish traders positioning for continued share price appreciation ahead of expiration day in May. Call-buyers paid an average premium of $0.30 per contract to take ownership of the contracts. Investors make money if Questar’s shares rally about 4% over the current intraday high of $48.38 to surpass the average breakeven price of $50.30 by expiration. The surge in investor demand for calls on the stock lifted Questar’s overall reading of options implied volatility 10.5% to 34.88% as of 11:00 am (ET).

Louisiana-Pacific Corp. (NYSE:LPX) The manufacturer of building products attracted bullish options players to the arena this morning with the price of its shares up 7.00% to $10.09. One bullish investor appears to have purchased 10,000 now in-the-money calls at the June $10 strike for an average premium of $0.85 apiece. Other traders hopped on the bandwagon, driving total call volume at that strike to 13,926 lots, which is more than 10 times greater than existing open interest of 1,321 calls. Call buyers paying an average premium of $0.85 per contract stand ready to accrue profits if LPX’s shares increase another 7.5% to surpass the breakeven price of $10.85 by June expiration day.