As the struggling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) prepares to release its earnings for the second quarter tomorrow, investors are also looking to make some money from the company's woes in the options market.
While the action is considerable for the put option, indicating investors remain bearish on RIM, I'm more bullish on the stock right now. My reason stems from some positive news released this week. Given that we're talking about RIM, anything positive stands to make the stock go up at this point.
On Tuesday, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins stressed that the company was trying hard to win back customers and attract new ones. This can partly be seen from the company adding roughly two million BlackBerry service subscribers. They now total 80 million, up from the roughly 78 million the company reported during its first-quarter earnings report.
Also, the long-awaited BlackBerry 10, which we got a closer look at on Tuesday, is getting decent reviews. It boggles my mind that RIM is taking so long to debut an upgraded BlackBerry and operating system. However, if it's not ready, then the company is doing itself a favor by tweaking everything before releasing it - a lesson Apple is learning the hard way considering the fallout from less than impressive Maps app on its prized iPhone 5. I can't help but to think that the stock would have seen an even larger bump if it weren't for the news the device would not be available until next year. Still, investors liked what they heard as the stock rose 4.68% to $6.60 on Tuesday. In after hours trading, it continued to rise, increasing to $6.74.
There's no question that RIM is in dire straits. Its prized handset, so in demand at one point that it was nicknamed the 'crackberry,' has lost its appeal as people now are enamored by Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone and smartphones powered by Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android operating system. Nokia is also proving to be a force to be reckoned with. This fall it is rolling out two smartphones that will be powered by Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows Phone 8 operating system.
As I pondered all of this, I reviewed the options market for the contracts that expire on Sept. 27, the same day that the earnings for the second quarter will be released (note that the report won't be released until after the closing bell).
I was surprised to see the amount of volume for the put option with a strike price of $5.50. It was 12,989, which was more than any of the other options with that expiration date. There was less interest for calls; the option with a $7.50 strike price had a volume of 6,057.
Could investors who are worried about how bad the earnings report will be sink the stock to $5.50? Or, could the positive news released this week help to keep the stock at its current price, regardless of the earnings report?
If you are unsure which way the stock will move, or how much, either of these options strategies could work for you. One is the covered call strategy, which can be profitable if you think RIM will tick up or down, but not by much. If you think the movement will be significant, consider a straddling strategy, in which you buy a call and put with the same price and the same expiration date of Sept. 27.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.