Options Move Ahead of Monday's Dow Changes - TheStreet

Options Move Ahead of Monday's Dow Changes

The addition of Intel and Mister Softee to the Dow on Monday is sparking a Friday rally.
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Options markets sometimes have a reputation for making people feel like they're getting their pockets picked. But sometimes, trading them can be a rewarding effort.

With tech giants

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

officially

joining the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Monday, it may be smart for investors to get into it a day early, said Harvey Baraban, a technical trader who teaches courses on technical analysis at San Francisco's

Golden Gate University

.

Diamonds

(DIA) - Get Report

, which are unit trusts based on the DJIA, could be an interesting buy Friday afternoon, said Baraban, who bought Diamonds this week.

"You're getting Monday's prices today," explained Baraban, who notes the inclusion of four new stocks Monday -- Microsoft, Intel,

SBC Communications

(SBC)

and

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

will lead the Dow still higher next week. All four stocks are already breaking through their 52-week highs. "They are now in a whole new trading range," he said.

For investors determined to own the 30 component stocks of the Dow, the best way to do so may be Diamonds. The Diamonds, a basket of instruments that replicates the performance of the benchmark, are derivatives in that they were designed to approximate roughly 1/100 the value of the Dow.

Currently, Diamonds are trading at 107 5/16, up 1 3/8. That means that for a little more than $10,000, you can buy 100 shares of Diamonds for one fee, vs. the 30 fees an investor would pay to purchase each stock.

Elsewhere in trading, the most actively traded issues were -- surprise! -- technology stocks. The

Nasdaq 100

(QQQ) - Get Report

unit trusts were among the most actively traded, and a short squeeze was emerging in the index options.

The

Chicago Board Options Exchange's

fear gauge, the

Volatility Index

, showed worry pretty much evaporating, with the VIX at 22.38, down 0.31.

"If we can get the VIX approaching the teens, I'd want to get short the market. It's my sense that over the last two days, the shorts are coughing up their teeth like Chiclets," said Greg Simmons with

Linear Capital Management

, a hedge fund specializing in index options.

"I think there's been huge problems in the

Standard & Poor's 500

index. They were looking for a down move into the ECI; now they're really in trouble. The sentiment has changed too much in 72 hours to be healthy," Simmons said.

"I'm moving out the calendar to January to sell SPX puts at 1275s to get any premium," he added. Currently, the SPX trades at 1371.3, up 28.86. "I'll be shorting the market again with the SPX at 1377.5 or 20.5 on the VIX."

Among individual options,

Michael Foods

(MIKL)

saw some tasty action in its options. This past summer, the company hired some Street bankers to "explore strategic alternatives."

Michael Foods stock was up 9/16 to 26 and what appeared to be a brand new trade opened up in the December 25 calls added 9/16 ($56.25) to 2 7/8 ($287.50) on volume of 172 contracts. Previously there was no open interest.

Chubb

(CB) - Get Report

call options were also racking up gains, even out-of-the-money calls trading above the current stock price. Rumors were circulating that Chubb was higher as a result of

Warren Buffett

casting his eye on the insurer.

With the stock up 3 3/8 to 54 9/16, Chubb's November 55 calls had notched up 1 1/8 ($112.50) to 1 13/16 ($181.25) on fairly thin volume.

Senior Writer Eric Moskowitz contributed to this story.