March 06, 2009 at 23:34 PM EST
PNC Short Sellers Wade In
Today’s tickers: PNC, GT, ROH, WMT, CX, PG & XLF PNC – PNC Financial Services Group – Shares have fallen over 12% to $17.60 and put action today indicates that there may be more down-days to come. At the March 15 strike price nearly 14,000 puts were sold for an average premium of 1.78 per contract. We believe this sale could be the work of an investor who is short the stock initiating a covered put strategy. By taking in the premium today, this investor stands ready to take delivery of the shares at $15 come expiration. The risk to this trader is that shares are remain stable above the strike ahead of delivery and thereafter rebound, in which case he has to buy back at some point. But, the trade would yield a satisfactory outcome if shares continue to fall below $15 by expiration in which case the investor has his short position alleviated with a long put holder putting the stock to him. In the meantime this investor retains the full premium of 1.78. At the April 10 strike price, more typical put buying was seen given the fall in shares today. Over 5,500 puts were picked up for about 1.65 apiece, indicating that investors do expect that shares will continue to fall. GT – The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company – A victim of the decline in auto sales, Goodyear has fallen 4.5% to a new 52-week low, touching down at $3.40 today. Despite the depressing news plaguing the auto industry from all sides, one option investor sees the world through rose-tinted shades and initiated to purchase of 20,000 calls at the January 2010 7.5 strike price for 50 cents per contract. Shares will need to rally like there’s no tomorrow and increase by 135% in order to breach the breakeven share price of $8.00 by expiration next year. Option implied volatility for GT currently stands at 128%. Lately we have noticed similar structured trades using optimistic options plays in both Ford and GM. ROH – Rohm and Haas Company – Shares have jumped over 17% to $63.60 amid news that discussions over merger resolution have resumed between ROH and Dow Chemical Co. We can only speculate as to how the discussion will turn out and scant information is available at the present time. The uncertainty has created a veritable hot bed of frenzied trading among option traders whose speculation now surrounds what…
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