Stock market averages are rangebound in light trading Friday. The economy was in focus early after the latest GDP numbers showed the economy growing at a 2.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter, which was .3 percent less than expected. However, the Univ. of Michigan, released later, was up to 76.4 in late-April and better than the 75.7 that had been expected. Like their counterparts across the Eurozone, stock market averages were able to post modest gains on the data through midday. From there, market action seems to have slowed to a crawl. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has traded in a 75-point range and is up 42 points. Volume is light; particularly in the ETF market, where volume is on track to reach 690 million shares and about 33 percent less than normal. CBOE Volatility Index (.VIX) is down .14 to 16.10 amid quiet trading in the options mart, with 6.4 million calls and 5.5 million puts traded across all the exchanges.
Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) saw a rally at about Noon EDT and is trading up 91 cents to $19.12, but volume is only 800K shares and about 20 percent less than normal. However, options action is heating up in the name. 6,065 calls and 240 puts traded on the stock so far. Much of the flow is concentrated in May 18 calls, which are 6 percent in-the-money and expiring in three weeks. 3,830 contracts traded. May 19, May 20 and Dec 18 calls are seeing modest interest and 30-day ATM implied vols are up 8 percent to 58, as speculative call buying seems to be fueling the activity in CLNE today. The stock notched a 52-week high of $24.75 on 3/21 before falling 25.7 percent through 4/20. It is has rebounded 3.8 percent this week heading into a May 7 earnings report.
Trip Advisor (TRIP) is up $3.06 to $37.44 on heavy volume of 4.2 million shares after peer Expedia (EXPE) posted upbeat earnings and ahead of the online travel company's May 1st earnings release. The stock is notching new 52-week highs and options volume is 5X the daily average. 7,150 calls and 1,220 puts traded on the stock, in small lots. The top trade is 456 Jun 35 calls at $3.05 per contract when the market was $3.00 to $3.20. It's possibly a liquidating trade. The contract is in-the-money after today's move. OTM May and June 40 calls are also actively traded and 30-day ATM implied volatility is up 11 percent to 50, as some investors might be taking positions on the view Expedia's earnings report bodes well for TRIP. But shares tripped 14.6 percent lower on 2/9 when earnings were last reported.
Dunkin Brands (DNKN), which gained 2.7 percent and moved to new 52-week highs on earnings news yesterday, is up 16 cents to $32.73. Morning options trades on the stock include a 1600-lot and a 1,000-lot of Jun 30 puts for 50 cents per contract on ISE. A customer is buying-to-close a position, according to ISEE data. 7,325 contracts traded against 14,600 in open interest, which is easily the largest block of OI in the name. 30-day ATM implied volatility fell to new 52-week lows early, but has since moved higher and is up 10 percent to 29. Today's put buying might express concern that the stock, which is up more than 30 percent year-to-date, might get dunked for a loss between now and the June expiration.
Implied Volatility Mover
Implied volatility in the options on MagicJack (CALL) is moving to new 52-week highs today. The stock is down 22 cents to $24.41 in active trading of 373K shares. Meanwhile, 3,440 puts and 1,205 calls traded in the name. May 35, 30 and 25 puts are the most actives in CALL and 30day ATM implied vols jumped 23 percent to 94. The stock saw a volatile reaction and fell to $22.5 at the open after the voice over Internet communications provider announced a loyalty rights offering of shares. The offering benefits shareholders of record as of May 7 and allows the purchase of one ordinary share for $2 for every four shares owned. The company also announced a $20 million stock buyback plan.
Unusual Volume Movers
Bullish flow detected in Warner Chilcott (WCRX), with 8637 calls trading, or 33x the recent average daily call volume in the name.
Bearish activity detected in Masco (MAS), with 4806 puts trading, or 12x the recent average daily put volume in the name.
Bearish activity detected in Waste Management (WM), with 11552 puts trading, or 10x the recent average daily put volume in the name.