Moderately busy open for the options markets today, with S&P 500 index futures near flat despite the 8% decline in Oracle (ORCL) shares after disappointing earnings. Bullish flow is noted in several names, suggesting a few traders may be picking their spots for further upside into the spring. While we had some excitement on Wednesday, I would expect things to quiet down into next week's Passover and Good Friday holidays.
Corinthian Colleges (COCO) lifted $0.03 to $2.19 with early trades on the for-profit education company including a sweep of 1,381 May 2 calls for $0.35 when the market was $0.30 to $0.35. These will open a new position and might indicate some 'bottom fishing' on the beat-up educator. August 3 and January 2.50 calls are seeing some interest also.
Hercules Offshore (HERO) was up $0.09 to $7.35 and early trades on the Houston, TX oil and gas company include a sweep of 1,807 May 8 calls across multiple exchanges for $0.35 when the market was $0.25 to $0.35. 2,570 contracts traded. The same contract saw activity yesterday as well, resulting in 3,529 in open interest. So today is possibly a repeat. No headlines on the ticker.
Agricultural chemical company FMC Corp (FMC) is seeing heavy early call volume, with a buyer of 1,000 April 60 calls for $0.60 7mins into the day when shares were near their lows of the day. April 60s are the largest open interest position in the name, and today's flow looks to add to the existing 3,420 contracts.
Metro PCS (PCS) call volume spiked earlier today with about 7,000 May 11 calls bought for $0.56 average price. Looks like it adds to the May 11-12 call stupid bought Tuesday nearly 10,000x when shares were near $10.42. PCS is a merger-arb name with a complicated tender/buyout planned for later this year.
Relatively heavy call volume for semiconductor name KLA Tencor (KLAC) with more than 2,200 calls (and 67 puts) trading in the first hour and nearly all the flow in April 55 calls, currently 6.8% above spot. Shares near the center of their 52-week range but were above that strike earlier this month.
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