With a lack of volume in stocks infecting the options market, options pros were seeing little bullish action Tuesday, despite the surge in stock prices.
One options specialist on the
American Stock Exchange
said there was little flow in the market. The rally lacked "a lot of enthusiasm," the specialist said, noting that there wasn't any significant
put selling or
call buying despite the rally in stocks. What he was seeing was mostly traders adjusting positions. Selling a put or buying a call is generally a bet that a stock or index will rise.
The specialist, along with other market participants, complained that volume was light overall Tuesday, the first day back after the long holiday weekend.
Meanwhile, implied volatility on
options was up Tuesday, particularly on the put side. Last week
parent, said it would buy US Airways for $4.3 billion, or $60 a share. Investors and analysts have questioned whether the airlines will get the go-ahead from the government to get together, and they also are concerned about potential union opposition to the takeover. US Airways was down 15/16 to 42 5/8, while UAL was off 3/4 to 52.
Paul Foster, of
in Chicago, said that for US Airways July 40 puts, volatility was 56-57, while for the July 40 calls, the volatility was 47. That indicates that market makers are pricing in the possibility of more downside than upside risk for the stock, Foster said. Implied volatility is the annualized measure of how much the market thinks a stock or index can potentially move and is a critical factor in an option's price.
The most active option on US Airways Tuesday was in the September 45 puts, where 1,500 contracts have traded on the
Chicago Board Options Exchange
. The puts were trading at 5 ($500), up 1/2 ($50).
Implied volatility on UAL options, meanwhile, hasn't moved much compared to last week, Foster said.
Volume on US Airways options on Friday was heavy, with most of the action on the put side. According to
, a total of 10,269 contracts changed hands on Friday, with 7,637 of those contracts put options.