Stock Options Watch: EL, HAR, UBNT

EL – Estee Lauder Companies Inc. – Shares in Estee Lauder are bucking the trend today, up 0.85% at $66.57 as of 12:15 p.m. ET, amid a down day for U.S. stocks. Options on the manufacturer of skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products are more active than usual ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report next Thursday after the closing bell, with overall volume approaching 3,000 contracts as compared to average daily volume of around 650 contracts. EL shares have surrendered roughly 8.0% of their value since touching a 52-week high of $72.70 back on May 28th, but options changing hands on the stock today suggest some traders are positioning for the price of the underlying to recover in the near term. The Sep $70 strike calls are the most actively traded contracts thus far in the session, with around 2,200 lots in play against open interest of 389 contracts. It looks like much of the volume was purchased for an average premium of $0.80 apiece, thus positioning buyers of the contracts to profit at September expiration in the event shares gains more than 6.0% to surpass the average breakeven point at $70.80.

HAR – Harman International Industries, Inc. – Trading traffic in Harman International Industries options today suggests some traders are gearing up for shares in the name to push higher in the near term. The stock increased as much as 6.6% today to touch a new 52-week high of $69.16 after the maker of stereo and audio equipment reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue growth above analyst estimates. Traders positioning for shares in Harman to extend gains appear to be snapping up August expiry calls. The most actively traded front month calls as measured by volume are the Aug $70 strike contracts, with upwards of 1,100 lots in play versus zero open interest as of midday in New York. Time and sales data indicates most of the volume was purchased for an average premium of $0.26 each. Call buyers stand ready to profit at expiration next week if shares in HAR rise 1.6% over today’s high of $69.16 to settle above the average breakeven price of $70.26. It looks like 300 of the Aug $72.5 strike calls were also purchased during morning trading for a premium of $0.10 each. Overall options volume on the stock, currently hovering around 4,150 contracts, is well above Harman’s average daily volume of roughly 800 contracts.

UBNT – Ubiquiti Networks Inc. – Call options purchased on communications technology company, Ubiquiti Networks, ahead of Thursday’s fourth-quarter earnings release are generating big gains for at least one trader today, with shares in the name up more than 26% at $26.79 as of 11:40 a.m. ET. The company posted better than expected earnings and sales in the quarter and forecast higher than expected net income and revenue for the first-quarter. Call open interest in the Aug $22 strike calls increased by roughly 350 contracts yesterday after one strategist purchased a block of 300 calls at a premium of $1.40 each just before midday on Thursday. The Aug $22 strike calls are now deep in the money and changing hands at a last traded price of $4.20 each less than 24 hours later. Earlier in the session, premium on the $22 call reached as high as $6.65, while shares touched an intraday peak and new 52-week high of $29.40.

About Caitlin Duffy 373 Articles

Affiliation: Interactive Brokers

Caitlin Duffy joined Interactive Brokers in 2009. In her role as Equity Options Analyst, Caitlin provides daily market commentary; highlighting various options trades, trading patterns and strategies of interest. Through Interactive Broker's webinar program, Ms. Duffy presents a number of educational, options-related events describing the theoretical pricing of options, the option Greeks as well as options strategies.

Interactive Brokers: Interactive Brokers offers direct market access to around 80 electronic global markets from a single account. Successful traders and investors understand that superior technology and lower trading costs can result in greater returns. For 32 years we have been building direct access trading technology that delivers real advantages to professionals worldwide. With consolidated equity capital of US $4.4 billion, IB and its affiliates exceed 1,000,000 trades per day. In addition, our prudent and conservative risk policies make Interactive Brokers a safe haven for your money. Discover some of the reasons why IB, the largest independent US broker/dealer, is the professional traders' and investors' choice.

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