Options Unusual Activity

IB Options Brief: Herbalife, Ltd. (HLF), Illumina, Inc. (ILMN) & Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM)


HLF – Herbalife, Ltd. – Options on Herbalife continue to change hands at a clip on Thursday, one day after Pershing Square Capital Management founder, Bill Ackman, announced a short position in the stock that sent shares in the marketer of weight management products down as much as 15% during trading on Wednesday. The stock extended losses today, sliding 8% in the early going to $34.33, the lowest level since February 2011.

Upwards of 71,000 put and call options have changed hands on Herbalife as of 12:55 p.m. ET, with around 1.5 puts changing hands on the stock for each single call option in play. Some traders appear to be positioning for shares in the name to hit lower lows by the end of this week, while others establish contrarian bets on the name that benefit from a pop in the price of the underlying during the next 24 hours.

Bears anticipating a sharp drop in shares of Herbalife in the very near term appear to be buying out-of-the-money puts across several strike prices in the December expiry. Meanwhile, call buying at the Dec. $35, $37.5 and $40 strikes looks for the stock to rebound substantially by expiration.

 

ILMN – Illumina, Inc. – Shares in biotechnology company, Illumina, Inc., jumped 9.25% this morning to a new 52-week high of $57.00 on unconfirmed reports that Swiss drug maker, Roche Holding AG, may be in talks to purchase Illumina at a substantially sweetened price of $66.00 a share or $8.1 billion. San Diego, California-based Illumina’s shares have rallied more than 80% since the start of the year on speculation the provider of DNA sequencing technology may be acquired.

Options volume on Illumina is up sharply on the session, with some 14,000 contracts in play on the stock as of midday in New York, versus average daily options volume of around 2,200 lots. A number of strategists appear to be buying upside calls on the takeover chatter, snapping up in- and out-of-the-money calls in the December and January expiries.

The Dec. $55 and $57.5 strike calls, which have one full trading session remaining to expiration, attracted buyers in the early going. Trading traffic in call options expiring the third Friday of the New Year are looking for shares in the name to rise sharply during the next four weeks.

Options players appear to have purchased approximately 1,000 calls at the Jan. 2013 $62.5 strike calls for an average premium of $0.96 apiece. Buyers of these contracts profit at expiration next month should shares in ILMN rally another 11% to top the average breakeven price of $63.46.

Traders also picked up around 600 of the Jan. 2013 $65 strike calls at an average premium of $0.45 each, and may profit in the event of a 15% move to the upside to exceed $65.45 by expiration.

 

WSM – Williams-Sonoma, Inc. – Put options on the retailer of high-quality home goods are changing hands this morning, with shares in the name trading slightly lower on the session, down 0.20% at $44.54 as of 12:15 p.m. ET.  Put buyers taking to Williams-Sonoma in the early going appear to be positioning for shares in the name to pullback somewhat during the next four weeks.

Traders appear to have purchased 1,000 in-the-money puts at the Jan. 2013 $45 strike for an average premium of $1.60 apiece. The bearish position starts making money if shares in the retailer slip 2.6% from the current level to breach the effective breakeven point on the downside at $43.40 by January expiration.

The stock has rallied more than 30% since mid-January, although trades roughly 7% below the November 2nd 52-week high of $48.07 as of the time of this writing.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note: The material presented in this commentary is provided for informational purposes only and is based upon information that is considered to be reliable. However, neither Interactive Brokers LLC nor its affiliates warrant its completeness, accuracy or adequacy and it should not be relied upon as such. Neither IB nor its affiliates are responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of this information. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument. Securities or other financial instruments mentioned in this material are not suitable for all investors. Any opinions expressed herein are given in good faith, are subject to change without notice, and are only correct as of the stated date of their issue. The information contained herein does not constitute advice on the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation to you of any particular securities, financial instruments or strategies. Before investing, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.


About Caitlin Duffy


Equity Options Analyst

Author's web site: ibanalyst@interactivebrokers.com


View Caitlin Duffy's post archive >

Advertisement Continue reading

The Options News RundownAudio

Your source for the most important news and information from the world of options.

The Options Insider Radio NetworkAudio

All of our radio programs in one convenient place.

Options Insider RadioAudio

The original options podcast. Features interviews with leading options figures.

The Option BlockAudio

This high-octane program features education, analysis, strategies and unusual activity.

Volatility ViewsAudio

The premier radio program for volatility traders.

The Long And Short Of Futures OptionsAudio

Your source for futures options information.

The Advisor's OptionAudio

Arming advisors with the info necessary to manage risk.

Options Boot CampAudio

Get into peak options trading shape.

Options Insider Special EventsAudio

Compelling panel & special event recordings from the options world.

OIC's Wide World of OptionsAudio

A dynamic mix of current events, investor resources, & strategy insights.

The Futures Options RoundtableAudio

Futures Options Analysis, Education, Strategies and More...

Trading Tech TalkAudio

We break down all the amazing technology that takes your trades from the click of a mouse to the clearinghouse.

Options Playbook RadioAudio

Break down cutting-edge options strategies and learn how to incorporate them into your portfolio

x

The Options Insider Radio Network

The Options News Rundown

Your source for the most important news and information from the world of options.

The Options News Rundown

The Options Insider Radio Network

All of our radio programs in one convenient place.

The Options Insider Radio Network

Options Insider Radio

The original options podcast. Features interviews with leading options figures.

Options Insider Radio

The Option Block

This high-octane program features education, analysis, strategies and unusual activity.

The Option Block

Volatility Views

The premier radio program for volatility traders.

Volatility Views

The Long And Short Of Futures Options

Your source for futures options information.

The Long And Short Of Futures Options

The Advisor's Option

Arming advisors with the info necessary to manage risk.

The Advisor's Option

Options Boot Camp

Get into peak options trading shape.

Options Boot Camp

Options Insider Special Events

Compelling panel & special event recordings from the options world.

Options Insider Special Events

OIC's Wide World of Options

A dynamic mix of current events, investor resources, & strategy insights.

OIC's Wide World of Options

The Futures Options Roundtable

Futures Options Analysis, Education, Strategies and More...

The Futures Options Roundtable

Trading Tech Talk

We break down all the amazing technology that takes your trades from the click of a mouse to the clearinghouse.

Trading Tech Talk

Options Playbook Radio

Break down cutting-edge options strategies and learn how to incorporate them into your portfolio

Options Playbook Radio