Dow Jones Industrial Average
soaring and the
Nasdaq Composite Index
tumbling, options-market players were homing in on companies with earnings reports in the offing.
Put options on
Advanced Micro Devices
were active ahead of the company's earnings, expected to be released Wednesday. AMD's stock was up 1 5/8 to 77 1/8. The
First Call/Thomson Financial
18-analyst estimate is calling for AMD to earn 52 cents in the first quarter.
Advanced Micro's April 70 puts have been trading heavily today, with more than 6,300 contracts trading on the
Pacific Stock Exchange
. The April 70 puts were quoted at 2 ($200 per contract), down 1 1/2 ($150) at midday. The trade was likely investors opening positions by selling the puts to collect the premium, which is inflated because of pre-earnings uncertainty.
The put seller, however, was playing the odds that the option won't be exercised because it's already 7 1/8 out of the money and Advance Micro action is decidedly positive.
, which is expected to post earnings Monday after the close, were active also.
Most of the action was in the front-month options, with not much activity further out. That, of course, isn't to say there wasn't any action, however, and it appears one investor has taken a bearish bet on Motorola.
American Stock Exchange
, 2,000 Motorola July 155 puts have traded against open interest of 176 contracts. The puts were last quoted at 20 3/4 ($2,075 per contract) as Motorola traded down 1 1/4 to 152 1/2 at midday. That action appeared to be the work of buyers anticipating weakness in Motorola in the short term.
As for the company's earnings, the First Call 27-analyst estimate is for the company to earn 58 cents a share in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, in other market action, one of the most active call-option contracts was the
April 50 call, still out of the money with the stock down 1/8 to 46 1/8.
At midday Monday, 3,015 of the contracts had traded, moving the price up 1/16 ($6.25) to 5/8 ($62.50 per contract).
Options on the
Morgan Stanley Internet Index
made their debut on the American Stock Exchange Monday, and were met with some pretty hefty volume.
MOX options primarily will be an institutional tool, said Scott Slayton, head of equity research marketing at the
Morgan Stanley Internet Index
. He also said the MOX will have an important hedging use, considering the volatility in the sector.
Today's trading was a prime example. The underlying MOX was down 5.94, or 5.7%, to 97.62.
The May 95 calls and May 95 puts each traded 5,000 contracts by midday. The calls were last at 13 7/8 ($1,387.50 per contract), while the puts were trading at 6 3/4 ($675). As for the May 100 calls, they've traded 5,500 contracts while the May 100 puts have traded 5,050 contracts.
Typically, first-day trading in index options is subdued, but institutions looking to protect their gains on Internet stocks or speculating on some broader directional move seem to have gravitated to the MOX options.