PG – Procter & Gamble Co. – Consumer products giant, Procter & Gamble, is trading higher today in advance of the company’s first-quarter earnings report ahead of the opening bell on Thursday. Shares in P&G are currently up 1.25% to stand at $68.28 as of midday in New York. A sizable ratio put spread initiated on the stock this morning indicates one strategist is prepared for limited bearish movement in the price of the underlying through year end. It looks like the trader purchased 2,000 puts at the Dec. $67.5 strike for a premium of $1.22 apiece and sold 4,000 puts at the lower Dec. $65 strike at a premium of $0.56 each. Net premium paid to establish the position amounts to $0.10 per contract and provides downside protection – or profits – beneath a breakeven share price of $67.40 through December expiration. Maximum potential profits of $2.40 per contract are available on the ratio spread should P&G’s shares slide 4.8% from the current level to settle at $65.00 at expiration. Shares in Procter & Gamble last traded at $65.00 in the first week of August.
F – Ford Motor Co. – Shares in the automaker tacked on 1% this morning to stand at $10.10 by 10:50 a.m. ET on reports the company plans to close its last remaining vehicle-making plant in the United Kingdom. Near-term bullish positioning in Ford options straight out of the gate this morning suggests some traders anticipate further gains in the price of the underlying during the next couple of trading sessions. The most heavily trafficked of the Oct. 26 ’12 options contracts are the $10 strike calls, which changed hands more than 7,800 times against open interest of 2,843 lots. It looks like most of the in-the-money calls were purchased in the first 10 minutes of the trading session at an average premium of $0.17 apiece, thus preparing buyers to profit at expiration should Ford shares settle above the breakeven price of $10.17. Like-minded bulls shelled out an average premium of $0.02 per contract for approximately 2,600 of the higher Oct. $10.5 strike call. These contracts may be profitable in the event of a more than 4% move to the upside in the automaker’s shares to top $10.52 by expiration this week.
LL – Lumber Liquidators Holdings, Inc. – Better-than-expected third-quarter earnings from the specialty retailer of hardwood flooring sent shares in Lumber Liquidators up as much as 17% earlier in the session to a record high of $58.80. The stock gapped higher on Wednesday after the Toano, Virginia-based company reported third-quarter profit of $0.46 per share that handily beat analyst expectations and nearly doubled from the year ago quarter. The company also raised its guidance for full year earnings. Shares in Lumber Liquidators, currently trading up 14.4% at $57.36 as of 11:35 a.m. ET, are up better than 220% since the start of 2012. The blowout earnings report was met with heavier than usual options activity on the stock this morning, with some 3,000 calls and puts in play versus LL’s average daily options volume of 825 contracts. Traders are favoring calls, with the call-to-put ratio topping 1.5 at present. Options players eyeing further upside in the price of the underlying purchased around 440 of the Nov. $60 strike calls for an average premium of $1.23 apiece in morning trading. Call buyers may profit at expiration next month in the event that LL shares rally another 6.75% to top the average breakeven price of $61.23. In-the-money call buyers looked to the Nov. $55 strike options, shelling out an average premium of $4.12 apiece for roughly 170 contracts in the early going.