August 13, 2010 at 16:30 PM EDT
Mixed Action on ETF Country Plays
Today’s tickers: EFA, EEM, DYN & RMBS EFA - iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund - One investor appears nervous over a continued slide lower for global stocks and used a put option combination in the index fund tracking Europe, Asia and Far Eastern markets in an effort to profit from a further 10% slide. The iShares ETF is trading at an unchanged $50.89 on Friday while one investor has paid a $980,000 net premium to help reduce the cost of taking a nearby bearish position on the prospects for the fund. If the fund does crash to $45.00 before the option play expires in September, the investor stands to make profits of $4,020,000. The position could be full or partial protection against a long stock position in which case options profits are offset by rising losses as the share price declines. In order to make a profit at expiration the investor must see the share price settle at less than $49.02. EEM - iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund - An alternative to the strategy above was offered possibly by the same investor using a put spread in the emerging markets ETF. With the fund having rebounded from about $40.00 per share yesterday, the fund gave of 6.2% of its recovery. This seems to have provoked this investor to seek short-term gains by betting against a further slip in emerging markets. The investor again focused on the September expiration and with shares trading now at $40.63 used the $38.00 and $33.00 strikes to write a credit spread. Instead of buying the higher strike, it appears to have been sold in exchange for puts at the lower $33.00 strike. The purpose is to bank the net premium of 49 cents per contract from making the play. The investor this time faces losses beneath an expiration price $37.51 and see them increase to a maximum of $4.51 per contract in the event markets do face a meltdown over late summer. In order to reach breakeven the shares would need to decline by 7.7% from today’s trading price and to leave the investor facing maximum pain would need to slide by 18.8%. DYN - Dynegy Inc. – The announcement by Blackstone that it was making a $4.50 a share bid for the power generating company created a groundswell of demand for shares in Dynegy, which rose 60% pennies short of the deal price. Options volume quickly eclipsed the overall…
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