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Eli Lilly: Bearish Options Trade

Stocks in this article: LLY

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Eli Lilly (LLY) reported mixed results from third-quarter earnings last week. The company reaffirmed 2012 guidance in spite of abysmal performance of their top drug Zyprexa and several other drugs losing patents next year. Despite these headwinds, the company has rewarded shareholders with a stock up over 20% year-to-date and a hefty dividend yield of 3.8%.

As the end of the year approaches, I think investors may seek to lock in Lily stock gains or aggressively sell calls against their positions. As such, I believe Lilly's stock price has topped out for the year with the strong possibility of a small sell off and range-bound trading between $47 and $52.50 per share over the next several weeks.

Here's a short-term bearish options trade that doesn't cost very much (or costs nothing) to take advantage of the Lilly situation:

Buy 20 NOV 47.0 strike Puts @ 0.24 = $480
Sell (20) NOV 48.0 strike Puts @ 0.39 = $(780)
Sell (20) NOV 49.0 strike Puts @ 0.63 = $(1,260)
Buy 20 NOV 50.0 strike Puts @ 1.00 = $2,000
Sell (10) NOV 52.5 strike Calls @ 0.44 = $(440)

Initial Trade P&L = $0

This is a Put Condor fully financed by the sale of a Call. Aside from commissions, the trade costs nothing. Lilly is an excellent option trader's stock given the deep liquidity in the options. This translates into extremely narrow bid/ask spreads that lowers the cost and increases the ease to enter and exit the trade.

In this trade, profit is achieved between $47 and $50 by expiration with maximum profit of $2,000 occurring between $48 and $49 by November expiration. The risk in the trade is to the upside as we sold the NOV 52.5 strike Calls to fund the purchase of the Put Condor. Losses begin to incur above $52.50 (by expiration) thus it is important to set a pre-determined risk limit prior to putting on this trade.

Pelz has no position in Eli Lilly.

To learn more about using options to trade biotech stocks, check out Tony Pelz's book, The Biotech Trader Handbook or subscribe to Chimera Research Group.

Tony Pelz was a trader on a major European bank's proprietary trading desk, responsible for a portfolio with limits of more than $200 million. Prior to proprietary trading, Pelz worked with several global investment banks in roles ranging from corporate finance, M&A to credit and business development. He is author of The Biotech Trader Handbook, 2nd Edition, co-founder of the small-cap biotech research and trading site Chimera Research Group and operator of Pelz currently resides in Denver, Colorado where he trades for his own account.

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