Options Activity Alert: XLF, FDS, PG

XLF – Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF – US stocks are moving lower on Monday as European concerns creep back into the conversation, yet financial stocks are managing to hold onto slight gains this afternoon, with shares in the XLF up 0.06% at $15.84 as of 12:40 p.m. in New York. Put options on the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF saw heavy volume near the open after one big options market participant established a large bear put spread. It looks like the strategist purchased a 165,000-lot Dec. $13/$15 put spread, paying a net premium of $0.265 per contract. The trade makes money if shares in the XLF decline 7% to trade below $14.735, while maximum potential profits of $1.735 per contract are available on the position in the event XLF shares plunge 18% from the current level to settle at or below $13.00 at December expiration. Shares in the XLF last traded below $13.00 in December 2011.

FDS – FactSet Research Systems, Inc.– Options on the provider of financial and economic data are active today ahead of FactSet’s fourth-quarter earnings report scheduled for release prior to the opening bell on Tuesday. Shares in FactSet Research Systems are up 2.5% at $103.05 as of 12:05 p.m. ET. Some options traders appear to be bulking up on downside puts ahead of earnings, while others are getting long bullish calls in anticipation of further gains in the price of the underlying shares in the near term. Strategists prepared to benefit from a pullback in the stock picked up around 450 puts at the Oct. $95 strike in the first hour of the trading week for a premium of $1.40 apiece. Put buyers may profit at expiration next month in the event FDS shares drop 9% to trade below the effective breakeven price of $93.60. Volume in FDS options is heaviest in the Oct. $100 strike where more than 2,000 puts changed hands in the first half of the trading day. Much of the volume, around 1,200 lots, appears to have been purchased by one options player at a premium of $2.85 per contract. These bearish puts yield profits, or downside protection, in the event of a 5.7% decline in the price of the underlying to $97.15 by expiration. Meanwhile, traders preparing for shares to extend gains snapped up around 200 calls at the Oct. $105 strike at a premium of $1.85 each and another 258 calls out at the Nov. $105 strike for a premium of $2.40 per contract. Upside call buyers may profit if shares in FactSet rally another 3.7% and 4.2% to top breakeven points at $106.85 and $107.40, respectively, by options expiration in October and November.

PG – Proctor & Gamble Co. – Shares in the consumer products giant reversed earlier losses to trade up 0.20% on the day at $69.55 in early-afternoon trade. The stock touched a multi-year high of $69.83 on Friday, marking a near 20% rally in the share price since the end of June. Bullish options looking for the price of the underlying to extend gains in the near term attracted heavy volume in morning trade. The Oct. $72.5 strike call changed hands roughly 27,000 times in the first hour of the trading day versus previously existing open interest of 3,553 contracts. It looks like traders purchased most of the call options for an average premium of $0.07 apiece. Cheap upside calls on the stock may pay off at expiration if shares in Proctor & Gamble tack on another 4.3% in the next four weeks to top the breakeven point at $72.57. The company is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell on October 25th, the week following options expiration.

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.

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