By Jud Pyle, CFA, chief investment strategist for the Options News Network
Investors pushed up commodity prices today on good news Monday morning surrounding China's industrial production. Prospects for a continued run higher in commodity-related stocks was epitomized by bullish options activity in
, even though the company's shares have lagged other commodity stocks in the past few months.
Looking at the Oct. 55 calls, more than 14,500 of these contracts have changed hands so far today (one investor bought more than 6,000 contracts within the first two hours of trading). The Oct. 55 calls are home to current open interest of 1,118 with implied volatility of 37.6.
The customer bought these calls with the stock at $71.21, which is about $10 higher than the 52-week low it reached on March 5. In afternoon trading, XOM stock traded at $71.70, up nearly 3.5% from Friday's close.
Shares of XOM, the world's largest company by market value, gained along with the rest of the U.S. stock market mainly because of growth in Chinese manufacturing for the third straight month in May, according to the Purchasing Manager's Index.
As I said in this morning's
, global demand for commodities is leading the market rally today, and just like other investors in commodities, this XOM investor could get some instant gratification today.
is up nearly 4% to $69.20, while energy stock indices have gained more than the Irving, Texas-based company. The
AMEX Oil Index
is up 3.5%, the
AMEX Natural Gas Index
gained 4.8%, and the
Philadelphia Oil Service Index
was 4.8% higher in afternoon trading.
Bullish call-buying such as this does not automatically mean the shares will charge higher. But it is interesting to note, however, that at least one investor is using options to gain some leveraged exposure to a continued run in this mega-cap stock.
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."