Alphabet Call Buyers Searched For, Found Profits After Earnings

Options traders nearly doubled their money in Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) options that were purchased mere hours before it reported earnings.

On Monday, July 23, Investitute's market scanners flagged the purchase of 900 September $1,250 calls for $27.50 as part of a bullish roll with shares at $1,206.27. This was clearly a new position, as volume was above the strike's open interest of 253 contracts.

These investors were 'rolling up' an already profitable trade, possibly to reflect their more bullish sentiment ahead of the company's earnings report.

Those calls traded for as much as $54.50 Tuesday morning, just shy of twice their purchase price, but still an overnight gain of $2.43 million for the fortunate investor. The stock rose 5.52% in the same time, or in the context of those calls' 90,000 share equivalent, a ~$600,000 gain, underscoring how options can far outperform their underlying shares.

Long calls lock in the price where investors can buy a stock, letting them position for a rally at limited cost with the potential for significant leverage. They carry less risk than owning shares because the most that can be lost is the price of the options no matter how far the stock might fall.

Alphabet peaked at an all-time high of $1,275 in early trade Tuesday, before settling back to close at $1,258.15, up 3.89% on the session. Alphabet reported stellar earnings the night before with paid clicks up 58% year-on-year, triggering a slew of analyst upgrades.

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