SWN – Southwestern Energy Co. – Shares of the independent energy company engaged in natural gas and crude oil exploration, development and production increased as much as 1.6% at the start of the trading session to touch an intraday high of $32.60. Options trading on the stock took on a bullish slant after one strategist populated the January 2011 contract with a couple of interesting transactions. It looks like the investor sold a strangle and purchased in-the-money call options during the second half of the trading session. The options player purchased 10,000 in-the-money calls at the January 2011 $32 strike at an average premium of $2.795. At the same time, the trader initiated a short strangle, selling 15,000 calls at the January 2011 $36 strike for premium of $1.13 each, and shedding 15,000 puts at the lower January 2011 $29 strike at a premium of $1.30 apiece. Gross premium pocketed on the strangle amounts to $2.43 per contract. It seems the trader is looking for substantial albeit limited upside movement in Southwestern shares. The long call stance, in isolation, prepares him to make money if SWN’s shares rally above the breakeven price of $34.43 by January expiration. Meanwhile, the trader keeps the full premium pocketed on the sale of the strangle if shares trade within the boundaries of the $29/$36 strike prices through expiration day next year. The short strangle may be a financing vehicle aimed at reducing the cost of getting long the in-the-money calls. In this scenario, the investor is bullish on Southwestern Energy, but does not see shares exploding to the upside in the next 5 months to 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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