With two weeks to go before expiration, investors were prepared to snatch up some
options this morning as the market looked as if it was going to tank. A
lackluster jobs report released at 8:30 a.m. today hinted that the market might be headed for a major selloff, but the market barely blinked. After the tape reversed itself and headed up, volume tapered off on all the major exchanges.
As a result of those early morning jitters, investors snatched up some tech options, particularly in Internet companies. At first look, online retailer
appeared to be the popular play as volume spiked on both the May and June put options. The Seattle-based company has made quite a valiant comeback over the course of the past month, with its stock climbing from $8.63 to $17.15. A little over a week ago, the company beat the Street's estimate for the first quarter, citing strong growth in its international and electronics businesses. Despite its recent resurgence, however, option investors are still making bearish bets on the stock.
The May 10 puts traded 6,250 contracts on an open interest of 10,822. The premium on those puts was listed at 15 cents ($15 for 100) on the
Chicago Board Options Exchange
. Volume on the June 12 1/2 puts was especially active as nearly 10,000 contracts traded on an open interest of 557. The premium on those puts fell to the 75 cents to 85 cents range.
According to one floor trader, however, volume in the Amazon puts was a case of a market-maker looking to "sell volatility in the summer months." Essentially, the seller was looking to sell protective puts on an option that has fluctuated quite a bit in recent months. Sure enough, John Brett, of
, said that his firm "rolled over a bunch of the May 10 puts into the June 12 1/2 puts and the July 12 1/2 puts." He added that this was part of a larger trading strategy. Basically, the firm was selling puts to maintain its negative stance on the company, in spite of the stock's recent uptick.
Shares of Amazon traded up 70 cents, or 4.2%, to $17.45 in recent trading.