was seeing plenty of interest in the
options market as the database-software maker's quarter comes to a close today amid speculation that the company will
issue a profit warning. But options activity suggested that any bad news may already be priced into the stock.
The June 12 1/2
calls traded nearly 50,000 contracts on an open interest of 1,261, with investors shelling out $3.10 ($310 per 100) for the premium. Those calls traded more than 25,000 contracts on the
alone. Oracle shares traded up 92 cents, or 6.3%, to $15.43 in recent trading.
The bullish activity came after
put out a research note this morning that lowered its earnings estimates for the company. In the note analyst Eric Upin wrote, "The current selling environment continues to be very difficult, resulting in heavy discounting of both applications and databases, longer sales cycles and smaller deal sizes. We have not yet seen signs of a turnaround, supporting our view that these problems require several more quarters to fix."
Options traders said the worries are nothing new and that a preannouncement has already been priced into the market. According to one trader at
in Chicago, the options are trading at a very high delta and investors are buying those calls pretty aggressively. The delta of a stock option is the ratio of the change in the price of the option to the change in the share price of the underlying stock. The Letco trader speculated that investors may feel that the bad news has already been priced into the market and that they could be looking to get long the stock.
Another trader characterized the activity itself as "something we haven't seen in months." He added that much of the volume could be attributed to one investor buying calls across all the major exchanges. Although he is still trying to figure out what strategy is being implemented, the trader said his best guess is that the investor is looking to establish a long position in the stock. This would explain the investor's willingness to lay out a somewhat hefty premium for such near-term options.
Mike Schwartz, a strategist at
CIBC World Markets
, said, "The volume is too high to be that of a retail investor."