By Jud Pyle, CFA, chief investment strategist for the Options News Network
Put activity dominated trading today and Wednesday in
after the Atlanta-based bank announced a plan to raise capital within six months. The bank was ordered by government regulators to find $2.2 billion by early November and to have a firm plan outlined by June 8.
Looking at the June 17-20 put spread, 10,000 of each contract traded before 10 a.m. EDT today. The June 17 puts changed hands at $2.65 and the June 20 puts traded at $4.70 vs. a stock price of $16.09.
That translates to an implied volatility for the June 20 puts of 85.5 and implied volatility for the June 17 puts of 92.4. Given the similarity in volume and timing, this was likely a put spread with the investor selling to close the June 20 puts and buying to open the June 17 puts.
One interesting thing about these puts is the customer just purchased them Wednesday: We saw10,000 of these puts trade before 10 a.m. EDT at $5.50 when the stock was around $15.52. Today's put activity, therefore, is commonly referred to as a roll where a customer transfers the existing position down to a lower strike.
SunTrust's capital plan includes slashing its quarterly dividend to 1 cent from 10 cents and increasing its common equity by $2.2 billion. SunTrust also announced plans to sell up to $1.25 billion of common stock. SunTrust shares reversed earlier gains to close the day at $15.08.
Investors should not interpret high put activity as a reason to turn bearish or sell SunTrust. Shares have not hit a 52-week low of $6.70 since Feb. 19, but the action of rolling a put spread suggests at least one investor could be betting that SunTrust won't be above the $17 strike come expiration June 19.
Jud Pyle is the chief investment strategist for Options News Network (www.ONN.tv) and the portfolio manager of TheStreet.com Options Alerts. Click here for a free trial for Options Alerts. Mr. Pyle writes regularly about options investing for TheStreet.com.
Jud Pyle, CFA, is the chief investment strategist for Options News Network. Pyle started his career in finance in 1994 as a derivative analyst with SBC Warburg. After four years with Warburg, Pyle joined PEAK6 Investments, L.P., in 1998 as an equity options trader and as chief risk officer. A native of Minneapolis, Pyle received his bachelor's degree in economics and history from Colgate University in 1994. As a trader, Pyle traded on average over 5,000 contracts per day, and over 1.2 million contracts per year. He also built the stock group for all PEAK6 Investments, L.P. hedging, which currently trades on average over 5 million shares per day, and over 1 billion shares per year. Further, from 2004-06, he managed the trading and risk management for PEAK6 Investments L.P.'s lead market-maker operation on the former PCX exchange, which traded more than 10,000 contracts per day. Pyle is the "Mad About Options" resident expert. He is also a regular contributor to "Options Physics."