September 22, 2010 at 16:19 PM EDT
Options Tactician Targets Southwestern Energy Co.
Today’s tickers: SWN, XLE, FAST, NFLX, WU, ODP & SEH SWN - Southwestern Energy Co. – Shares of the independent energy company engaged in natural gas and crude oil exploration, development and production increased as much as 1.6% at the start of the trading session to touch an intraday high of $32.60. Options trading on the stock took on a bullish slant after one strategist populated the January 2011 contract with a couple of interesting transactions. It looks like the investor sold a strangle and purchased in-the-money call options during the second half of the trading session. The options player purchased 10,000 in-the-money calls at the January 2011 $32 strike at an average premium of $2.795. At the same time, the trader initiated a short strangle, selling 15,000 calls at the January 2011 $36 strike for premium of $1.13 each, and shedding 15,000 puts at the lower January 2011 $29 strike at a premium of $1.30 apiece. Gross premium pocketed on the strangle amounts to $2.43 per contract. It seems the trader is looking for substantial albeit limited upside movement in Southwestern shares. The long call stance, in isolation, prepares him to make money if SWN’s shares rally above the breakeven price of $34.43 by January expiration. Meanwhile, the trader keeps the full premium pocketed on the sale of the strangle if shares trade within the boundaries of the $29/$36 strike prices through expiration day next year. The short strangle may be a financing vehicle aimed at reducing the cost of getting long the in-the-money calls. In this scenario, the investor is bullish on Southwestern Energy, but does not see shares exploding to the upside in the next 5 months to expiration. XLE - Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF – The implementation of a ratio put spread on the energy ETF suggests one options strategist may be bracing for erosion in the price of the underlying shares through January 2011 expiration. Shares of the XLE, an exchange-traded fund designed to yield investment results that correspond to the price and yield performance of the Energy Select Sector of the S&P 500 Index, are lower by 0.75% to stand at $54.44 with approximately 40 minutes remaining before the closing bell. The put player appears to have purchased 11,500 lots at the January 2011 $50 strike for premium of $1.66 each, and sold 23,000 puts at the lower January 2011 $47 strike at a premium of $1.07…
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