Option traders turned substantial gains on bullish positions opened in JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) only one session earlier.
On Friday, July 20, Investitute's tracking systems found that 5,000 Weekly $118 calls expiring Aug. 3 were purchased for $0.08 with shares at $110.89. This was clearly a new position, as open interest in the strike was a mere six contracts before the trade occurred. Investitute co-founder Jon Najarian cited the unusual activity at that time on CNBC's "Halftime Report."
These traders likely purchased the JPM calls to reflect their expectations for a rapid rise in the large bank's stock. Options gain and lose value to reflect their 'optionality,' and while JP Morgan's shares had not yet hit $118, the calls still outperformed their underlying security by a wide beat.
Those 03August $118 calls were bought up to $0.34 Monday, more than four times their initial purchase price. The stock rose 3% in the same time frame, underscoring how quickly 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.
JPM was up 1.86% Monday, July 23, to close at $113.35. The stock rose along with shares of other banks as interest rates rose.