After a respite Thursday, suffering returned to the market Friday in an
-induced sell-off that left conflicting opinions from some options market pros about whether the market had hit bottom.
Apple's profit warning after the close
Thursday shook up stocks Friday, leaving the
with a bruising loss of 2.8%.
Apple's stock was tumbling $27.50, or 51%, to $26. Apple options action was robust in the wake of the news.
Rob Sorrentino, who runs
Sorrentino Asset Management
, a hedge fund in Naples, Fla., however, said he thinks the news out of Apple doesn't justify the stock losing 50% of its value. He has no position in Apple.
The out-of-the-money Apple October 27 1/2 calls were seeing a decent amount of volume. The heaviest volume in the Apple October 27 1/2 calls was on the
Chicago Board Options Exchange
, where more than 2,000 contracts changed hands. The calls were down 1 7/16 ($143.75) to 1 9/16 ($156.25).
Investors could be buying the calls, hoping for a rebound in the stock, or investors could be selling the calls. A call option gives the purchaser the right but not the obligation to buy a security for a specified price at a certain time and is basically a bet that the stock will go up. Call sellers are generally betting that by expiration -- October equity options expire on Oct. 20 -- Apple's stock will be below the 27 1/2 strike price and that the options will expire worthless and the call seller will keep the premium taken in for selling the option.
As for the overall market currently, Scott Fullman, chief options strategist at
Swiss American Securities
, doesn't see too many pluses. One negative he sees is the put/call ratio on options on the
, or OEX, is fairly bearish, with the ratio at 0.53 late Friday morning. A bullish put/call ratio on the OEX he said would be 1.2, and it's a mile away from that right now.
The relatively low reading in the put/call ratio for the OEX isn't expressing much pessimism among investors on the outlook for stocks, which for contrarians is bearish. The put/call ratio is the measure of how many put options trade for each call option. Contrarian traders generally like to do the opposite of where the market overall is leaning.
The equity put/call ratio isn't exactly screaming to contrarians that the market is ready to rebound either. The overall options market equity put/call ratio was at 0.55. The CBOE equity put/call ratio was at 0.49. Neither readings are very bullish for stocks.
Fullman said Thursday's pop in the market had to do with bargain hunting and end-of-the-quarter window dressing, or money managers making sure they have the hot stocks in their portfolios at the quarter's end. Overall, however, he pointed out that historically, this time of year is weak for stocks.
Meanwhile, Sorrentino, citing his proprietary market indicators, said he thinks the market has put in its bottom. He said that lately he's been a seller of index options.
Alex Jacobson, an options industry veteran and longtime CBOE employee, has joined the
International Securities Exchange's
marketing and business development division as vice president of business development.
In his new position, Jacobson will lead the ISE's liaison efforts to broker-dealers, hedge funds and other institutional and retail order flow providers. Before joining the ISE, Jacobson was the CBOE's vice president of business development. Jacobson is also a founding member of the
and was involved in the initial development of the
Options Industry Council