May 10, 2010 at 16:22 PM EDT
Put Butterfly Spread on Financials ETF Points to Persisting Pessimism
Today’s tickers: XLF, CMCSA, IBB, IYR, KBE & RIG XLF - Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF – Investors heavily favored put options over call options on the financial SPDR today despite the 4.4% rebound in the price of the underlying stock to $15.75. Earlier in the trading session shares of the XLF, an exchange-traded fund seeking investment results that correspond to the price and yield performance of the Financial Select Sector of the S&P 500 Index, increased 6.15% over Friday’s closing price of $15.09 to reach an intraday high of $16.02 in the first 30 minutes of the session. Options traders populating the fund today initiated decidedly bearish transactions signaling shares of the fund may be unable to retain the current rebound. Near-term pessimism took the form of a large-volume debit put spread in the May contract. It looks like one investor purchased 36,000 puts at the May $15 strike for a premium of $0.17 apiece, and sold the same number of puts at the lower May $14 strike for $0.07 each. The net cost of the trade amounts to $0.10 per contract, thus positioning the put player to pocket maximum potential profits of $0.90 per contract should shares decline 11.11% from the current price to breach the $14.00-level by expiration day. The trade is perhaps the work of an investor still smarting from last week’s market meltdown now taking advantage of relatively cheap downside protection today to hedge against similar catastrophic events. Bearishness spread to the June contract where another pessimistic individual enacted a put butterfly spread. The transaction involved the purchase of 10,000 now in-the-money puts at the June $16 strike for a premium of $0.67 each [wing 1] and the purchase of 10,000 puts at the lower June $14 strike for $0.23 apiece [wing 2]. The body of the butterfly, nestled between the two wings at the central June $15 strike, involved the sale of 20,000 puts for a premium of $0.41 each. The net cost of the butterfly spread amounts to just $0.08 per contract. The trade yields maximum potential profits of $0.92 per contract to the responsible party if shares of the XLF fall 4.75% from the current price to settle at $15.00 at June expiration. The investor starts to make money if shares of the financials ETF slip beneath the upper breakeven price of $15.92. Options traders exchanged more than 440,000 contracts on the XLF by…
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