XLF – Financial Select Sector SPDR – A bearish three-legged options combination play initiated on the XLF, an exchange-traded fund designed to provide investment results that correspond to the price and yield performance of the Financial Select Sector of the S&P 500 Index, indicates one big options player expects shares of the underlying fund to decline ahead of August expiration. Shares of the ETF are currently down 0.55% to stand at $14.49 with just under 30 minutes remaining before the closing bell. The pessimistic options strategist appears to have sold call options in order to partially offset the cost of buying a debit put spread. The investor sold 17,500 calls at the August $16 strike for a premium of $0.18 each, purchased 17,500 puts at the lower August $14 strike for a premium of $0.52 per contract, and finally sold 17,500 puts at the August $12 strike for a premium of $0.14 apiece. The net cost of the transaction is reduced to just $0.20 per contract. Thus, the bearish trader is poised to profit if shares of the XLF fall another 4.75% from the current price of $14.49 to breach the effective breakeven price of $13.80 by August expiration. The investor walks away with maximum potential profits of $1.80 per contract – for total gains of $3.150 million – if the price of the underlying fund plummets 17.2% to trade at or below $12.00 by expiration day in August.
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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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