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Options Intelligence Report: Motorola Business Split Creates Appetite For Options

 February 12, 2010 03:17 PM
 


Motorola Inc. (MOT) – The Shares are almost 8% higher at $7.20 on the news that the company will split into two with networks on one side and mobile devices on the other. Shares are on the move because this probably reflects management's confidence in the turnaround for mobile devices. It appears that one option investor is looking for further upside and placed a 20,000 lot call option spread when shares were trading at about $6.95 this morning. The spread involved the purchase of now in-the-money April call options at the $6.00 strike, which cost $1.12. The buyer sold the same amount of $9.00 strike calls expiring at the same time for 7 cents to reduce the breakeven to $7.05 in two months. It is likely that this investor wants to take a stake in the company now that it's announced this corporate split and as long as Motorola's shares stay north of $6.00 in April, he will be able to exercise that option.

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Allstate Corp. (ALL) – Looks like a substantial amount of call option buying in the home and auto insurer today as its share price holds up relatively well in the face of a 1% loss for the major market averages. At $29.36 shares are off by just a nickel, possibly still sheltered by a 22.7% surge in revenue and earnings that exceeded investor hopes earlier in the week. Call option buying at the April expiration $31 strike has so far totaled more than 22,000 contracts. Buyers paying around 65 cents per contract for rights to get long of shares in the insurer should they rally by more than 5.6% in the next nine weeks are clearly banking on a rebound to the January peak above $31.50. Implied volatility has slumped in the aftermath of earnings further eroding the premiums today.

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Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (BWLD) – An earnings miss earlier in the day from the Minneapolis-based restaurant operator attracted option investor attention today. The activity is curious simply because it's contrarian. The share price slumped more than 12% earlier to $41.28 before steadying to $43.00. The decline in options implied volatility to 37% is twice the decline in the share price and is perhaps behind investors willingness to write almost 2,000 put options at the soon to expire February $40 strike. Premium sellers, who would have to buy shares at a fixed $40 each by expiration next weekend, were keen to bear that risk by taking in the available 70 cents per contract pushing premiums lower all morning. These are currently offered at just 25 cents as volatility declines and shares rebound.


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