The stock of
, unloved, loathed, shunned and abhorred by many, found itself in an all-too familiar place Monday: in the toilet.
Amazon.com's stock was off $2.50, or 8.1%, to $28.31, ahead of its earnings release slated for Tuesday after the close. The
First Call/Thomson Financial
29-analyst consensus estimate calls for the online retailer to post a loss of 33 cents a share.
Chicago Board Options Exchange
trader said pros were buying out-of-the-money Amazon.com call options while selling Amazon.com stock. November out-of-the-money calls were seeing a notable amount of action Monday, led by trading in the November 35 calls, where more than 1,100 contracts have changed hands. The calls slipped 1/8 ($12.50) to 2 1/4 ($225) on the CBOE. Also on the CBOE, the November 30 calls were trading down 3/4 ($75) to 3 7/8 ($387.50), while the November 32 1/2 calls were off 1 1/16 ($106.25) to 2 9/16 ($256.25).
Dumping the stock protects them from any further downside in the shares, while the out-of-the-money calls give them a less expensive way to maintain some long position if Amazon's shares rally after its earnings report.
Those who are playing Amazon.com options Monday are also paying up for the opportunity. Implied volatility, the measure of how much the market thinks a stock or index can potentially move, has been rising and pumping up the prices for Amazon options. That would also make it possible for bears to sell inflated Amazon call options against the possibility of a rally.
The CBOE trader said at midmorning that implied volatility was up to 150 for November options, notably higher than last week's levels. Generally, though, implied volatility rises ahead of a company's earnings report.
Shares of Amazon.com have been pounded this year. The stock is trading a mile off its 52-week intraday high of 113. Helping bury Amazon.com's stock Monday were bearish comments in latest issue of
Oh, on Friday to have sold those
November 85 puts now that Monday is here.
sold the 3M November 85 puts on Friday were looking rather intelligent as shares of the St. Paul, Minn.-based company gained $4.50, or 5.1%, to $91.75.
While put buyers are generally seen as bears, put sellers take in a premium against the risk of the stock falling and having to purchase shares at the strike price (85, in this case) to fulfill the contract's exercise.
That makes the basic strategy of a put sale bullish because the seller profits from the stock rising, or sitting still because the options expire worthless. Those who sold those calls could now buy them back to close out their positions for a tidy profit. The November 85 puts slumped 2 3/16 (218.75) to 1 1/16 ($106.25).
The spark for the rally in 3M, which got hammered Friday, was its third-quarter
earnings report. 3M posted earnings of $1.25 a share, a penny ahead of the eight-analyst First Call consensus estimate.