Ford Motor Co. (F)
– A couple of large-volume spreads initiated in longer-dated call and put options on the automaker caught our eye this afternoon. Shares in Ford Motor Company increased 0.90% this afternoon to stand at $17.00 in the final minutes of the trading day. It looks like one bullish player employed the use of a debit call spread in the April 2011 contract while a more cautious investor utilized a ratio put spread expiring in June of 2011. The options optimist picked up 10,000 calls at the April 2011 $17 strike for a premium of $1.25 each, and sold the same number of calls at the higher April 2011 $20 strike at a premium of $0.29 apiece, in order to position for continued bullish movement in the price of the car manufacturer's shares. The trader paid a net premium of $0.96 per contract for the spread, and is positioned to make money should Ford's shares rally another 5.6% over the current price of $17.00 to exceed the effective breakeven point at $17.96 by expiration day in April. Maximum potential profits of $2.04 per contract are available to the call-spreader if Ford's shares jump 17.6% to first surpass the current 52-week high of $17.42 on the stock, and ultimately trade above $20.00 ahead of expiration. Further along in the June 2011 contract, another strategist dabbled in put options, perhaps as a way to hedge a long position in the underlying shares through the first half of 2011, or alternatively to bet on a pullback in Ford's shares. It looks like the investor picked up 12,500 puts at the June $17 strike at a premium of $1.63 each, and sold 25,000 puts at the lower June 2011 $14 strike for a premium of $0.54 a-pop. The trader paid a net $0.55 per contract for the ratio spread and starts making money if Ford's shares slip beneath the effective breakeven price of $16.45 ahead of June expiration. The investor may walk away with maximum potential profits of $2.45 per contract in the event that the automaker's shares plunge 17.6% to settle at $14.00 at expiration day. Selling twice as many lower strike puts exposes the trader to losses should shares plummet 32.05% from the current price of $17.00 to breach the lower breakeven point at $11.55 by June expiration. Ford is scheduled to report U.S. sales for the month of December on January 4, 2011.Nike, Inc. (NKE)
– Options on the world's largest seller of athletic apparel are active ahead of the release of the firm's second-quarter earnings report after the closing bell this afternoon. Shares in Nike, Inc. are up 2.22% in the final hour of the trading session to secure an intraday- and new 52-week high of $92.27. The impending earnings announcement and increased demand for options on the sneaker-seller lifted Nike's overall reading of options implied volatility 10.5% to 25.02% as of 3:30pm in New York. Investors taking a bullish stance on Nike scooped up more than 2,400 now in-the-money calls at the January 2011 $90 strike for an average premium of $3.19 apiece. Call buyers are prepared to make money should Nike's shares rise 1.0% to surpass the average breakeven point to the upside at $93.19 by January expiration. More than 8,500 calls changed hands at the January 2011 $95 strike versus previously existing open interest of 5,750 contracts. It looks like some 3,800 of the calls traded on the ask for an average premium of $1.13 each. Higher-strike call coveters profit if shares surge 4.2% to trade above $96.13 by expiration day.Tessera Technologies, Inc.