SPLS – Staples, Inc. – The supplier of office products popped up on our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner late in the trading session after one investor initiated a bearish spread in the December contract. Staples’ shares are currently down 0.80% at $20.64 as of 3:15 p.m. in New York. The pessimistic player established a ratio put spread, buying 2,500 in-the-money puts at the December $21 strike for an average premium of $1.185 each, and selling 5,000 puts at the lower December $19 strike at an average premium of $0.39 apiece. The average net cost of the transaction amounts to $0.405 per contract. Thus, the investor is prepared to make money if the price of the underlying stock slips beneath the effective breakeven point on the spread at $20.595 by expiration day in December. Maximum potential profits of $1.595 per contract are available to the ratio-spreader if the office products company’s shares fall 7.945% from the current price of $20.64 to settle at $19.00 at expiration. The investor is vulnerable to losses in the event that Staples’ shares plummet far lower than he expects they will in the next several months. Losses start to accumulate for the trader if shares drop 15.7% lower and trade below the lower breakeven point at $17.405 by expiration day. Staples, Inc. is slated to report third-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell on November 18, 2010.
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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