October 27, 2009 at 16:27 PM EDT
Carter’s Earnings Cancel Sends Implied Options Volatility Skywards
Today’s tickers: CRI, RDC, XL, VIX, XHB, XRX, EFA, WYNN, BIDU & XHB CRI - Carter’s Inc. – The more than 20,500 option contracts exchanged thus far today on the children’s apparel company trumps existing open interest of just 3,342 lots by a factor of 6. Shares of Carter’s are suffering significant erosion after the firm announced plans to delay its third-quarter earnings release, originally scheduled for this evening, perhaps until November 12, 2009. News of the postponement sent shares tumbling 25.5% lower to $21.16. Investor uncertainty jumped through the roof as evidenced by the massive 66% rise in option implied volatility this morning to an intraday high of 90%. Bullish investors took advantage of today’s declines by trading near-term call options. One trader put on a ratio call spread by purchasing 1,000 calls at the in-the-money November 20 strike for 2.30 apiece, and by selling 2,000 calls at the higher November 25 strike for 55 pennies each. The net cost of buying the calls is reduced to 1.20 per contract. The effective breakeven price of $21.20 on the transaction allows the investor to profit by expiration in November if shares of CRI rise at least 4 cents. Maximum potential profits of 3.80 per contract are available if the stock recovers up to $25.00. Losses would begin to accumulate if any rally lifted the share price above $28.80. RDC - Rowan Companies, Inc. – Option traders scooped up put options on the provider of contract drilling services while shares slumped 2.75% to $24.90. The January 2010 22.5 strike had at least 1,400 puts purchased for an average premium of 1.16 apiece. The now in-the-money January 25 strike attracted traders who picked up 1,300 puts for about 2.15 each. Bearish sentiment spread to the April contract where another 2,000 puts were coveted at the April 22.5 strike for 2.02 a-pop. Finally, the most action took place at the in-the-money April 25 strike where 9,800 puts were purchased for an average of 3.18 each. Perhaps put-buying investors are aiming to protect the value of long positions in the underlying. Otherwise, traders placing bearish bets on RDC hope to accumulate profits on further share price weakness over the next several months. XL - XL Capital Ltd. – Bullish investors took aim at XL Capital put options in the January contract this afternoon. Shares of XL are slightly higher by less than 0.25% to stand at the current price of…
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