CSCO – Cisco Systems Inc. – A disappointing revenue forecast for the current quarter by computer giant Cisco late on Wednesday spawned more fears about the strength of global demand moving forward. Cisco’s shares fell pretty close to a 52-week low and stand 24% lower than an April peak. Options traffic was extremely hectic at 327,000 contracts. Atypical of a company in the aftermath of its earnings was a rise in implied volatility, which gained more than 10%. What stands out today is the put activity, where we’re noticing a preponderance to write premium. Investors are likely trying to take advantage of as much of a 13% share price decline to $21.00 on Thursday and used options expiring in the September contract to attempt a long entry to the stock. By selling puts at the $20.00 strike for 37 cents, investors are prepared to have stock in Cisco put to them at expiration in the event the stock trades south of the strike price. If not, they retain the premium in full as compensation for providing stock bears with the insurance. Of 12,000 contracts traded at that line, seven out of eight contracts were sold to the bid. The pattern was repeated in less daring fashion at the October $17.50 strike where an investor acted as a willing Cisco buyer through expiration in exchange for a 17 cent premium on 5,000 put options.
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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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