IB Options Brief: Safeway, Inc. (SWY)
Safeway Options Pop After Kroger Co. Reports
SWY ñ Safeway, Inc.
Options trades initiated on grocery store chain operator, Safeway, Inc., this morning suggests predictions regarding the performance of the stock over the near- and longer-term are mixed. Shares in the second-largest U.S. grocer are up 2.1% at $18.02 just after midday, rising in sympathy with Kroger Co., which reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, announced board approval of a $1 billion stock buyback program, and raised its full year earnings forecast.
Safewayís shares have been hard-hit in 2012; touching down at $17.53 yesterday, the lowest year-to-date price for the stock. However, the purchase of some 1,000 calls at the July $19 strike for a premium of $0.30 apiece may mean some traders are keeping an eye on the stockís upside potential. Call buyers may be prepping for SWY shares to rebound should the company report better-than-expected second-quarter earnings on July 19th. Traders long the calls profit if shares in SWY rally another 7.1% to top $19.30 at expiration next month.
Meanwhile, activity in longer-dated December expiry puts points to possible weakening in the price of the underlying in the second half of the year. It looks like one trader purchased a block of 2,000 puts at the Dec. $16 strike for a premium of $1.15 apiece. The options may represent an outright bearish bet that the stock has further to fall, or could be a hedge to protect the value of a long position in the underlying shares. The long puts make money, or yield downside protection, come expiration day should shares in SWY plunge 17.6% from the current price to breach the effective breakeven point on the downside at $14.85.
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