It's been all love and affection lately for
call options as the telecommunications equipment company is seeing action that's piqued the interest of some market analysts.
Options market watchers Larry McMillan of
and the Seidman-Skupp team at
have both noted the prices of Harris options in recent reports to clients. Also, there's been a fair amount of buying in call options on Harris lately, as investors make bullish bets on the direction of the stock in the face of a horrible broader market and weakness in Harris' underlying shares.
Harris slipped 4 cents to $23.33, and is down 24% since Jan. 1, something that makes the burst of optimism in the options market even more peculiar.
Dave Huskin of
, the designated primary market maker for Harris options at the
Chicago Board Options Exchange
, said lately there's been strong demand for April call options on Harris. The implied volatility on the options has doubled recently, with implied volatility closing at 84 yesterday.
Implied volatility (a key component of an option's price and the market's estimate of how much the underlying security can move) generally rises when demand for an option increases, which has been the case with Harris.
It doesn't appear that there are any news events on the horizon that explain the action in the options. According to
First Call/Thomson Financial
, the company isn't slated to post its next quarterly earnings report until April 27. April options expire on April 20.
Ted Moreau, managing director at
Robert W. Baird
in Milwaukee, who covers Harris, said he didn't know of a news event expected over the next few weeks. Baird has not done any underwriting for Harris.
The fact that there doesn't appear to be anything specific on the horizon that would move the stock is curious, considering the increased interest in the stock's options. McMillan, in a report today, noting the high implied volatility on Harris options, wrote it "looks suspicious, having appeared on
his high implied volatility list for two days in a row. Technically, the stock is locked in a tight trading range, with poor stock volume patterns."
Open interest (the total number of options contracts that have not been exercised or allowed to expire) is heaviest in the April 22 1/2 call, with 710 contracts as of yesterday's close. The April 25 call has open interest of 330 contracts as of yesterday's close. Overall open interest in put options on Harris totaled 388 contracts as of yesterday's close. For call options, the total is 1,412 as of yesterday's close.
Trading in Harris options, which is generally light overall, was light today. As for the April 22 1/2 calls, 60 contracts have traded. The calls were off 0.60 ($60) to 2.60 ($260).
Late in February, Harris said that because of the continued slowdown in capital spending on wired networks, the company warned that fiscal 2001 earnings per share will be within a range of $1.10 and $1.15 a share, below the company's previous target of $1.36 a share.
A call to Melbourne, Fla.-based Harris was not immediately returned.
Harris recorded $1.8 billion in revenue last fiscal year, with operating income of $36.3 million.