Skip to main content

Morning Update

This morning jobless claims were released due to the holiday and were in line with expectations at 410K. Last week’s claims were revised up from 439K to 451K. The Euro was volatile overnight, first falling on news that no agreement over Greek aid disbursement have been reached. However since then the Euro has traded all the way back and is now up on the day. Today’s US trading session is likely to see light volume ahead of the holiday.

Yesterday I noticed unusual options activity in Halliburton. One trader bought 3827 December 30 puts for $0.54 with the stock at 31.35. This is a bearish bet that will profit if HAL is below 29.46 (6% lower) at December expiration in 30 days. Halliburton is a high beta stock that was down over 20% from its September highs before rebounding a few percent with the broad market this week. This trader is taking advantage of this bounce to get bearish exposure to the stock, and also take advantage relatively low implied volatility. Thirty day implied volatility in HAL is currently 27.32, which is near the bottom end of its 52-week range of 25.13 – 60.80. If HAL sells off like this trader expects, implied volatility will increase as investors rush to buy puts to protect their stock positions pushing the price of these puts up even more.

Right now Halliburton’s technicals are bearish. The stock made a head-and-shoulders top on its daily chart over the last few months. This price pattern would suggest the stock trades down to 28.00, which also coincides with previous area of major support and is near the stock’s 52-week low. Fundamentally, the stock also faces some headwinds. During the company’s last earnings report David Leasar, the company’s chairman, president, and CEO, said “We expect the next couple of quarters to be pretty bumpy.” That’s because of price volatility in guar gum, a key material used in hydraulic fracturing led Halliburton to hedge at an unfavorable price which has left them stock with huge amounts of overpriced investory. Another reason is that Halliburton’s North American customers are cutting back spending due to high costs and low energy prices. Relative to the third quarter of 2011 there are 6.5% fewer rigs in North America, which means fewer customers for Halliburton. Halliburton’s international operations remain strong, but may not be stellar enough to drive substantial growth going forward.

I like this trade for playing a near-term sell off in the stock because it has a very favorable risk-reward ratio. If Halliburton does trade down to 28, this option will return $1.46 in profit, but can only loose $0.54 in the event that scenario does not play out.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

FED Rate Hikes Could Cause Unintended Volatility Shock

Last week the Federal Open Market Committee surprised no one when they raised rates 0.25 basis points to increase rates to between 1% and 1.25%.  What did surprise the market, was the revelation that the FED is committed to normalize rates, even if inflation does not meet their target.  This was reiterated this week in a speech by William Dudley, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who stated he feels the FED needs to raise rates, despite low inflation, to be ready to act if the economy does slow down.
The market has been quick to respond, and nothing was hit harder by a reduction in inflation expectations than commodities.  Gold, since the announcement, is lower by 2.39%, and oil is down -3.18%.  Crude futures have broken their upward trend line and appear poised to test the previous low of $39.56.
While, oil has been under pressure all year, the S&P 500 does not seem to care, as it continues to make all-time highs.  Oil is down 23% year to date, while the S&P…

Gold and Treasuries Say “RISK OFF”, But VIX Says "RISK ON"

Today we are seeing a modest rebound in the market after yesterday’s small selloff.  Volatility remains extremely low, with the VIX hovering around 10.  It’s important for traders to recognize how low the VIX has been lately.  Since 2010, the VIX has only closed below 10 five times, and each of those five times has come in the last month.                   However, the market is not without risks right now.  Gold has rallied 6.5% since May 9th.  Treasuries have rallied, pushing rates to below 2.15.  So, the market is currently in a risk off mode while equities are in a period of historically low risk.  The VVIX (the VIX of the VIX), for its part, is not sounding the all clear signal, 87 is in the medium range for VIX volatility.  Tomorrow we have a potential market moving event with James Comey’s testimony to Congress.  The last time Comey’s name was in the news, we saw the VIX move from 10.5 to over 15 in one trading day (a 50% increase) on a day where the market was down over 2%.  …

Markets Soft without Stimulus

Markets around the world pulled back the reigns as central banks look to taper quantitative easing. Japan’s central bank decided to leave their current pace of monetary policy unchecked, which has effectively cut the Nikkei down 1.5% on the day, affecting nearly every market in-between, scaring the DJIA 165 points off the start this morning. US Treasuries have now notched the highest yield in 14 months on the 10 year note.

This morning 55,257 EEM July 35 puts were purchased by a trader for $0.29 each, costing him a large $1,602,453. This is a bearish move on the Emerging Markets ETF, with expectations that by the July expiration, the price of EEM will dip below $34.71. EEM opened today at $39.32 and if this trader was to pass the breakeven point, the ETF would have to drop by more than 11.7% within a little over a month.

EEM opened today 1.9% lower than its closing price yesterday and since the 52-week high the ETF experienced in early January, it has lowered by over 13%. While this …