PXP – Plains Exploration & Production Company – The implementation of a three-legged bullish options combination play on Plains Exploration & Production Co. drew our attention to the November contract where one investor utilized call and put options to position for a rebound in the price of the underlying stock. Shares of the independent oil and gas company soured in late afternoon trading, slipping 3.2% lower to stand at $20.98 by 3:35 pm (ET). PXP’s current price of $20.98 represents a 40.4% decline in value since April 15, 2010, when the stock touched an intraday high of $35.41. But, the options activity observed in the November contract today indicates one trader is expecting the stock to rebound sharply ahead of expiration in five months time. The investor essentially sold short put options in order to partially finance the purchase of a debit call spread. The trader purchased 10,000 calls at the November $22.5 strike for a premium of $2.45 each, sold 10,000 calls at the higher November $28 strike for a premium of $0.70 each, and finally sold 10,000 puts at the November $17.5 strike for a premium of $1.30 a-pop. The net cost of the transaction amounts to $0.45 per contract. Thus, the investor responsible for the three-legged play is positioned to make money as long as PXP’s shares rally 9.4% to surpass the effective breakeven price of $22.95 by expiration day in November. Maximum potential profits of $5.05 per contract are available to the trader if Plains’ shares surge 33.5% to surpass $28.00 by November expiration.
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.
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