BP Shares Hemorrhage, Options Activity Explodes

BP – BP PLC – Options volume on beleaguered oil company, BP PLC, is fast approaching 750,000 contracts, fueling a more than 79.7% upward shift in the stock’s overall reading of options implied volatility to a 5-year high of 120.96%. Utter pandemonium erupted in BP options after the firm’s shares plunged 16.00%, crashing straight through the now defunct 52-week low of $34.15, to touch an intraday and new 5-year low of $29.13. Catalysts for the squall are not difficult to come by with analysts suggesting an increased probability BP will cut dividends to help pay for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The first half of the trading day was relatively calm with shares increasing 1.62% over the opening price of $33.90 to an intraday high of $34.45. But, by noon time on the east coast, BP’s shares had already begun their descent. Options activity on the stock can easily be described as frenzied as volume continues to grow in both call and put options across multiple expiries. Investors are displaying a slight preference for put options, with roughly 1.35 put contracts exchanged to each single call option in play thus far in the trading day. Put buyers are out in full force, scooping up at least 1,600 of the bearish contracts at the June $17.5 strike for an average premium of $0.25 apiece. Buying interest in the front month is heaviest in now in-the-money puts at the June $30 strike where more than 43,000 contracts changed hands by 3:05 pm (ET). Investors buying these contracts now face an asking price of $2.85 apiece. Other pessimistic players cast doubts for a near-term recovery by selling call options. Less than 60 minutes remain in the current trading session. Option volume on BP has surpassed 710,000 contracts and continues to steadily rise.

About Andrew Wilkinson 1023 Articles

Affiliation: Interactive Brokers

Andrew Wilkinson is the senior market analyst at Interactive Brokers Group, where he provides daily commentary and analysis on U.S. equity options trading throughout the trading day. Andrew provides webinars designed to explain option-related trading scenarios covering futures, fixed income, forex and equities.

Interactive Brokers: Interactive Brokers offers direct market access to around 80 electronic global markets from a single account. Successful traders and investors understand that superior technology and lower trading costs can result in greater returns. For 32 years we have been building direct access trading technology that delivers real advantages to professionals worldwide. With consolidated equity capital of US $4.4 billion, IB and its affiliates exceed 1,000,000 trades per day. In addition, our prudent and conservative risk policies make Interactive Brokers a safe haven for your money. Discover some of the reasons why IB, the largest independent US broker/dealer, is the professional traders' and investors' choice.

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