Seems there was a big pile of money being made in
options Wednesday after the company's stronger-than-expected earnings report had the analyst upgrades rolling in.
But, poker faces, today's action in Oracle serves as a classic lesson in when to take money off the table, as the stock had popped more than 7 to over 32 by midday. After Tuesday's close the software company reported fourth-quarter earnings of 36 cents a share, topping analysts' expectation of 32 cents.
Had investors followed
Monday's massive 18,000-contract call purchase in Oracle June 25 calls, which crossed at 1 3/4 ($175), those same calls could have been sold Wednesday at a peak of 7 1/2 ($750). Trading volume early Wednesday totaled 4,191 contracts against open interest of 33,015.
The June 30 calls, once in the wishful thinking category, were up 2 7/16 ($243.75) to 2 9/16 ($256.25) on volume of 11,657.
Don't, however, mistake all this action for a rush into long positions in Oracle.
"With 58% of those trades being traded at the bid, it looks like lots of people are closing out their positions, and likely a profit resulted from these trades over that two-day period" before the earnings announcement, explained Joseph Sunderman of
Schaeffer's Investment Research
, an options-trading advisory firm that did a little forensic analysis on Oracle's trading pattern.
Sunderman also noted that open interest in June 25 calls jumped to roughly 30,000 contracts from 14,600 between last Friday and Monday, indicating investors were opening new positions in the days before the earnings release.
It doesn't take an options strategist to figure out that if you've tripled your money on a June call during expiration week, you close that position and use the cash for a trip to the beach.
"The only reason they might hold on to them -- seeing as June options expire this week -- is that Oracle did just get upgrades from
," Sunderman said. "Perhaps they'd be thinking, 'Oracle exceeded estimates and there could be more upgrades to juice the stock.'"
Currently, he added, there are 20 buy ratings on Oracle out of 30 firms that follow the stock, with 10 brokerage houses rating it hold.
On Thursday, however,
Chairman Alan Greenspan is slated to testify before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, which could further upend the market. "Greenspan's talking tomorrow and you never know what he's going to throw into the mix," he added.