Option Activity Alert: Qualcomm (QCOM)

QCOM – Qualcomm, Inc. – Shares in the biggest maker of mobile-phone chips jumped after it released profit and sales forecasts for the current quarter that beat analysts’ estimates. The better-than-expected outlook from the San Diego, CA-based company inspired a number of analysts to up their ratings and price targets on the stock. QCOM’s shares increased as much as 8.2% at the start of the trading session to touch an intraday high of $49.45, and are currently up 5.45% at $48.18 just before 2:15 pm in New York. More than 215,300 contracts have now changed hands on Qualcomm, and investors are displaying a slight preference for call options versus puts. An equity collar initiated in the January 2011 contract caught our eye today amid frenzied trading across a number of expiries. It looks like the investor responsible for the trade sold 12,500 calls at the January 2011 $52.5 strike for a premium of $0.60 apiece in order to partially finance the purchase of the same number of puts at the January 2011 $44 strike at a premium of $0.80 each. The investor paid a net premium of $0.20 per contract for the collar, which was tied to stock purchased at $48.45 on a 0.44 delta. The purchase of QCOM shares indicates the investor is bullish on the mobile-phone chip maker and hoping to see the rally continue ahead of expiration next year. Selling the calls to buy puts is a nice strategy because the puts offer downside protection in case the price of the underlying shares slides lower, while the sale of calls cheapens the price of this protection. Additionally, selling calls provides an effective exit strategy on the long stock position. If the calls land in-the-money by expiration, the investor may have the shares called from him at $52.50 apiece. In this scenario, he exits the position having gained roughly 8.35% on the rally in the price of Qualcomm’s shares to $52.50 from $48.45. QCOM’s overall reading of options implied volatility has contracted 24.5% to 23.82% in late afternoon trading.

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.

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