By Jud Pyle, CFA, chief investment strategist for the Options News Network
Capital One Financial
are still beared-up days after Standard & Poor's Rating Services downgraded the bank to BBB- from BBB+ on concerns that greater volatility and tighter regulation could result in a worse future for banks.
An investor bought the Sept. 15-Sept. 20 put spread 20,000 times during the first hour of trading Friday for $1.58 per spread with the stock at $21.91. The Sept. 15 puts closed down 7 cents while the Sept. 20 puts closed down 10 cents on Friday. The Sept. 15 puts were home to open interest of 3,757 and the Sept. 20 puts were home to open interest of 6,830.
This investor needs COF shares to expire lower than $18.42 (the higher strike price minus the premium paid) come September expiration to make money. COF shares are up 170% since March 6 when the stock dipped to a 52-week low of $8.31.
COF shares closed up 4 cents to $22.33 Friday. In premarket trading Monday morning, COF shares are down 20 cents to $22.13.
Normal daily options volume in COF is approximately 10,000 contracts compared to the 93,000 contracts that changed hands Friday. The bulk of that volume, or about 80,000 contracts, traded in the Sept. 15 puts and Sept. 20 puts.
Heavy put selling like this does not mean investors should run out and sell their COF shares. It is interesting that at least one bearish investor boosted volume in the Sept. 15-Sept. 20 put spread on a bet that COF stock will drop below $20 in the September expiration month.
Jud Pyle is the chief investment strategist for Options News Network 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."