January 06, 2010 at 16:14 PM EST
Investor Uses Options to Strangle Ford’s Share Price through June 2010
Today’s tickers: F, WLP, IBN, SWHC, UNG, SNDK, MU, DTV, FDO & MON F – Ford Motor Co. – A short strangle play in the June contract on Ford suggests shares of the automaker are likely to remain range-bound through the next six months to expiration. Ford’s shares continued to rally during the current session following yesterday’s news that the firm enjoyed a 33% increase in December auto sales over the previous year. Shares reached a new 52-week high of $11.42 today on a 4.20% increase over Tuesday’s close. The sold strangle transaction implies one investor expects the recent boom to dissipate along with option implied volatility. The strangler sold 15,000 puts at the June $10 strike for a premium of $0.80 cents apiece in combination with the sale of 15,000 calls at the higher June $12 strike for $1.10 each. The investor pockets a gross premium of $1.90 per contract, which he keeps if Ford’s share price stays within the confines of the strike prices described through expiration. The premium received provides limited protection should shares swing outside the boundaries. But, the investor faces losses in the event that shares move above the upper breakeven price of $13.90, or trade beneath the lower breakeven point at $8.10 by expiration in June. It is possible the strangle-seller expects to benefit from a move lower in volatility. Option implied volatility on Ford rose significantly by 18.87% over the past 48-hours, from a low of 40.85% on Tuesday morning, to today’s high of 48.56%. Shrinkage in the reading of volatility on Ford may allow the investor to close out the short position at a profit because, as a general rule, declines in volatility weigh down option premiums. WLP – WellPoint, Inc. – Shares of the health and benefits company reached another new 52-week high of $61.45 today, adding to gains experienced earlier this week. The stock appreciated 5.5% from $58.27 on the final day of 2009, up to $61.45 today, the highest price attained in the past 12 months. Option traders displayed diverse strategies on WellPoint during the trading day. Near-term players banked gains by selling 7,000 calls at the now in-the-money January $60 strike for a premium of $1.70 apiece. One trader rolled 3,500 calls forward to a higher strike by selling-to-close 3,500 lots at the January $60 strike for $2.00 each, and buying up 3,500 calls at the higher February $62.5 strike for a…
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