BBY – Best Buy Co., Inc. – The retailer of consumer electronics popped up on our ‘most active by options volume’ market scanner this morning after one options investor purchased a plain-vanilla debit put spread in the December contract. Best Buy’s shares gained 1.25% early in the session to touch an intraday high of $33.31, but have since cooled, and are currently trading flat on the day at $32.90 just before 11:25 am ET. The purchase of the put spread may be the work of an investor expecting Best Buy’s shares to decline in the second half of 2010. Alternatively, the transaction could represent protective positioning ahead of the firm’s second-quarter earnings report, which is scheduled to be released ahead of the opening bell on September 14, 2010. The options player purchased 3,000 puts at the December $30 strike for an average premium of $1.70 each, and sold the same number of put options at the lower December $25 strike for an average premium of $0.575 apiece. The average net cost of the transaction amounts to $1.125 per contract. Thus, the responsible party is prepared to make money, or realize downside protection, if Best Buy’s shares plunge 12.2% from the current price of $32.90 to breach the average breakeven point on the spread at $28.875 by December expiration day. Maximum available profits of $3.875 per contract are available should BBY’s shares tumble 24% to trade below $25.00 by expiration. The retailer’s shares reached a new 52-week low of $32.61 on Monday, but the spread detailed above is perhaps an indication the price of the underlying stock could suffer substantially greater losses through the end of the year. BBY’s shares have fallen 32.6% since April 26, 2010, when the stock touched a high of $48.83.
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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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