Tuesday Options Recap

 |  Includes: BIDU, C, F, FMCN, PFE, SPY
by: Frederic Ruffy


Stocks are broadly higher on upbeat stock news and economic data Tuesday. Manufacturing numbers came into focus early after the ISM Index for January showed an increase to 60.8. Economists were expecting it to stay flat at 58.5. Meanwhile, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) shares are trading up 5.5 percent and the best gainers in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after posting better than fourth quarter profits and announcing a share buyback. Baidu.com (NASDAQ:BIDU), Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE:ADM), and BP are also seeing post-earnings gains. Ford (NYSE:F) and GM are up on monthly auto and truck sales numbers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 143 points and the tech-heavy NASDAQ gained 52. The CBOE Volatility Index (.VIX) is up 1.83 to 17.70. Trading in the options market is very active Tuesday. With an hour left to trade, 10.3 million calls and 6.4 million puts traded so far.

Bullish Flow

Investors are sizing up Citi (NYSE:C) calls today. 543,000 contracts traded, which is only 84 percent the usual, but compares to put volume of 137,000 contracts. The Feb 5 call is today's second most actively traded options contract. 153,000 traded. The Weeklys (expiring 2/4) are seeing action as well. 89,170 traded (99 percent ask). Shares are up 7 cents to $4.89 and the contract is 11 cents out-of-the-money with three days of life remaining. Open interest is only 2,704. Some investors might be opening positions in anticipation of Citi's presentation tomorrow at a Morgan Stanley conference. The Weekly 5.5 calls have also seeing unusual interest, with some investors apparently paying a penny to open new positions. Meanwhile, implied volatility in Citi options is up 3 percent to 29.

Focus Media (NASDAQ:FMCN) adds $1.54 to $26.45 and options action is picking up in Feb, Mar and April 28 calls after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to Conviction Buy List from Buy before the open. 2,180 calls and 270 puts traded in the name so far, or 18X the typical volume for the first 30 minutes of trading.

Bearish Flow

The top options trades so far today are in the SPDR 500 Trust (NYSEARCA:SPY). Spyders have climbed $2 higher, to $130.68, and the Feb 121 – 130 put spread trades at a $1.38, 50000X on CBOE. It was part of a purchase of 70,000, according to a source on the exchange, and probably a short-term hedge. Feb options expire in 17 days.

Implied Volatility Mover

Baidu.com implied volatility is easing, as shares rally around earnings news. BIDU is up $10.28 to $118.91 and heading to session highs into the final hour of trading. 113,000 calls and 82,000 puts traded. Weekly (2/4) calls at the 120 line are the most actives. 10,915 changed hands, as some players appear to be opening new positions in anticipation of additional gains through the end of the week. Feb 115 and 120 calls are actively traded as well. The Mar 90 is the most actively traded put. Implied volatility is down 26.5 percent to 33.5, compared to a 52-week high and low of 66 and 33. 120 day SV is 35.1 percent. 20 day is 24 percent.