Thursday Options Recap

by: Frederic Ruffy


Stocks are lower on disappointing economic data, but trading has been orderly so far. Stock index futures were holding higher after the euro ran back towards 1.24 against the buck early Thursday and despite a round of disappointing economic news. Data released before the bell showed filings for jobless benefits increasing by 12K to 472K in the week ended June 12. Economists were looking for a decline of about 10K. Separate data showed the Consumer Price Index [CPI] falling by .2 percent in May, and two times faster than expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average held steady despite the data, but then came under fire at 10:00 eastern time after the latest Philadelphia Fed Survey of manufacturing activity showed an impressive drop to only 8 in June, down from 21.4 in May and well below the 20.00 reading that economists had expected. From there, trading has been choppy and the industrial average is down 50 points in the final hour. The CBOE Volatility Index (.VIX) is up .20 to 26.12. Options trading is running about the typical levels, but is likely to pick up tomorrow due to the quadruple witch expiration. About 6.5 million calls and 5.2 million puts traded so far.

Bullish Flow

Pan American Silver (NASDAQ:PAAS) with relative strength and increasing call volume Thursday. Shares are up $1.31 to $26.95 after Silver (July) rallied 32 cents to $18.76. Meanwhile, 6450 calls and 710 puts traded on the Vancouver-based miner. The top trade is a block of 2,000 Oct 26 calls at $2.65 on ISE, which is an opening buyer, according to ISEE data. More recent trades include lots of Oct 32 calls on the 90-cent asking price. More than 2000 traded. Implied volatility is down about 2.5 percent to 37.5. Next earnings due out early Aug.

Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:CRUS) is up nearly 10 percent to $17 and 7,455 calls traded in the Austin, TX chipmaker after Mad Money’s host Jim Cramer said that, at $15 per share, the stock isn’t done going higher. He had an interview with CRUS President and CEO Jason Rhode. Shares are rallying today and most of the options action is in July, Sep and Dec 15 and 17.5 call options. Implied volatility is up about 5 percent to 64.

Bearish Flow

Pulte Homes (NYSE:PHM) is down 24 cents to $9.51 and off 4.3 percent following yesterday’s disappointing housing starts numbers. Options action today includes 5035 PHM July 9 puts. 97 percent traded at the Ask price of 40 cents. Open interest is 17K and so the activity might be closing. On May 25, bullish July 9 – 11 risk-reversals traded 7500X. Puts were being sold at 30 cents.

Implied Volatility Movers

Bed, Bath and Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) is down 5.1 percent to $42.80 and implied volatility is higher. 1,500 puts and 1,100 calls traded on the retailer early Thursday. The action is scattered across June and July puts with strike prices ranging from 41 to 44. Implied volatility is up 19 percent to 43. No news. Briefing cites talk of cautious broker commentary about May sales.

Unusual Volume Movers

iShares Japan Fund (NYSEARCA:EWJ) options volume is running 6X the usual, with 40,000 contracts traded and put activity representing about 90 percent of the activity.

FedEx (NYSE:FDX) options activity is running 3X the usual, with 39,000 contracts traded and call volume representing 70 percent of the volume.

M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB) options volume is running 12X the usual, with 29,000 traded and call volume representing 80 percent of the activity.

Unusual volume is also being seen in Medarex (NASDAQ:MDRX), Devry (NYSE:DV), and Career Education (NASDAQ:CECO).