Strangle Strategist Targets MSG Ahead of LeBron James’ Decision

MSG – Madison Square Garden, Inc. – Speculation as to which team will acquire the larger-than-life LeBron James continues to mount ahead of the basketball superstar’s Thursday night announcement on ESPN. One options investor put uncertainty in the marketplace to good use by purchasing a strangle on Madison Square Garden, Inc., the fully-integrated sport, entertainment and media business, which, among other things, owns and operates sports franchises including the New York Knicks. MSG’s shares are currently up 1.5% to $20.58 as of 2:50 pm (ET), but earlier surged 5.4% to an intraday high of $21.36. MSG edged onto our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner after the trader purchased a long strangle in the July contract. The investor appears to be positioning for a dramatic shift in the price of the underlying shares ahead of July expiration. The options strategist purchased a 2,000-lot strangle, buying 2,000 calls at the July $22.5 strike for a premium of $0.60 apiece, and buying 2,000 puts at the lower July $20 strike for a premium of $0.50 each. The net cost of the transaction amount to $1.10 per contract and prepares the strangle-player to benefit nicely as long as MSG’s shares take off running in either direction. Profits are available to the investor if shares rally straight through the current 52-week high on the stock of $22.95 to trade above the effective upper breakeven price of $23.60. If LeBron James were to join the NY Knicks it has been said the value of the MSG franchise will increase significantly. The strangler will certainly benefit if the Knickerbockers turn out to be James’ new teammates because MSG shares are likely to soar. Conversely, the options strategist is poised to profit to the downside should shares trade below the lower breakeven price of $18.90 ahead of expiration day. Perhaps the investor is expecting shares of the underlying stock to suffer if LeBron ends up with a different team. Either way, the investor responsible for the strangle strategy is positioned to benefit from a wayward shift in the price of the underlying stock. But, the trader will lose the full premium paid, $1.10 per contract in this case, if shares trade within the confines of the strike prices described at expiration. Finally, the investor may profit if implied volatility on MSG, which is currently up 6.1% to 54.46%, continues to appreciate. Higher implied volatility will increase premium on both call and put options and allow the investor to bank profits, should he choose to do so, by selling the contracts for more than the net cost of $1.10 paid to initiate the transaction.

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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