Bears Wax Nokia For 15%, Feast On Expiring Options

| About: Nokia Corporation (NOK)

On a mostly flat day in the tech market Thursday, shares of Finnish telecom company Nokia (NYSE:NOK) sold off more than 15%, as the bears took control a day before June 16 options expire, and punished the stock brutally.

Blue chips like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) felt no market swoon, moving less than 1%, but Nokia led the way down in tech as RF Micro Devices(RFMD), Sapient (NASDAQ:SAPE), Exide Technologies (XIDE), and Lattice Semi (NASDAQ:LSCC) all gave up at least 4%. (Source: Google Finance)

Nokia Corporation (ADR) NOK Price $2.35 -0.44 (-15.77%)
Lattice Semiconductor LSCC Price $3.85 -0.64 (-14.25%)
Exide Technologies XIDE Price $2.85 -0.16 (-5.32%)
Sapient Corporation SAPE Price $10.61 -0.57 (-5.10%)
RF Micro Devices, Inc. RFMD Price $4.11 -0.20 (-4.64%)
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The options market though was where the real dreams were made and crushed. Nokia crossed below the crucial $2.50 barrier and the puts and calls with a $2.50 strike swung wildly. Previously in the money June 16 $2.50 calls looked to be safely ITM heading into Thursday, but as Nokia gave up almost a sixth of its valuation, the call option turned dimes turned into pennies falling 90% from 30 cents to 3.

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It paid to own the $2.50 puts on this day though, what was once a 2 cent dead-option-walking about to expire worthless turned a mammoth 650% one-day gain:

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The days leading up to options expiry are often battlegrounds fought for what are obviously huge stakes. Trading values take leave of the company beneath the stock and big short-term bets take over the tape. It can be tempting to try for one of these big paydays betting on a surge in a left-for-dead option, but unless you are the money manager swinging these stocks, a better investment might be stuffing your money into bags, putting it on a rocket, and shooting it into the Sun.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.