According to option volume data bearish put plays featured almost 2.5-times more than bullish call volume during Monday morning trading as the Finnish-handset maker announced delays amongst Asian regulators that would likely hamper its $5.4 billion handset deal with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) The deal could reshape Nokia’s business model and enhance Microsoft’s mobile business and has been given the thumbs-up by 15 markets. However, Nokia (NOK) said Monday that China has not yet signed-off on its plan to sell its mobile devices businesses and patents to Microsoft, potentially pushing closure to April. As a result, investors are factoring delays to the timetable for its new strategy with its expected focus on competing in the wireless networks industry. For now it means that Nokia is saddled for longer with its mobile unit, though its announced jettison to Microsoft was widely welcomed amongst investors.
Overall option volume of 78,600 contracts was met with relative stability in the value of its shares, which eased by just 0.14% to $7.15. Amongst the most active strikes on Monday was the July 6.0 strike where it appears some 20,000 contracts were bought at a premium of 28-cents. Delay to the pending transaction was perhaps sufficient to prod an investor into paying a premium in order to protect against a decline in the share price. Beyond the announcement of the agreement six months ago, shares surged from $3.75 to $8.25 and even on a pullback have failed to fall as low as the $6.00 strike price since.
Chart – Nokia buyers may be taking advantage of July puts
(click to enlarge)