BP – BP plc – Contrarian options investors itching for a rebound in bruised and battered BP shares initiated three-legged bullish options combination plays today with shares of the underlying stock falling more than 6.15% to $26.97 with less than one hour remaining before the closing bell. BP’s shares touched down at an intraday and 14-year low of $26.92 during the current session. Optimistic traders expecting shares to increase by August expiration sold out-of-the-money put options to partially finance the purchase of debit call spreads. One such bullish individual opted to sell 5,000 puts at the August $20 strike for a premium of $1.41 apiece, buy 5,000 calls at the higher August $30 strike for a premium of $2.37 each, and finally sell 5,000 calls at the August $35 strike for a premium of $0.79 a-pop. The net cost of the combo-play amounts to just $0.17 per contract. Thus, the BP-bull is poised to profit if shares of the oil company rally 11.9% over the current price of $26.97 to surpass the effective breakeven point to the upside at $30.17 by August expiration. The trader walks away with maximum potential profits of $4.83 per contract, or total gains of $2.415 million, if shares of the underlying stock surge 29.8% to trade at or above $35.00 by expiration day. The transaction is a very efficient way to take a bullish stance on BP, but it is not without its risks. If shares remain above $20.00 but fail to rally through $30.00 by expiration the investor merely loses the $0.17 per contract paid to enact the spread. However, if shares plunge 25.85% from the current price to breach the $20.00-level, the investor is obliged to have shares of the underlying stock put to him at $20.00 apiece. This could potentially result in devastating losses depending on how low BP shares could go ahead of expiration day in August.
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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.
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