used to be money in the bank for investors. No more.
Like other Internet stocks, Yahoo!'s path is quite familiar: downward.
With the stock trading in the neighborhood of its 52-week intraday low, its current trading area could be enticing to some investors, considering how beaten up the stock is. Recall, however, that those who been so enticed in 2000 with Yahoo! have not been rewarded.
About the only people who've been rewarded trading Yahoo! are traders who have played the short side via the stock and options market. Yahoo! was snapping back a bit Friday, up $1.81 to $40.
As for the options market, the trading in Yahoo! options isn't screaming buy. In fact, judging from the sparse volume in the options lately, it doesn't appear many investors are making any big Yahoo! wagers in either direction.
Halfway through Friday's shortened session, the heaviest trading was in Yahoo! December 40
puts, where 242 contracts traded at the
Chicago Board Options Exchange
. The puts were down 1 ($100) to 4 7/8 ($487.50).
As of Wednesday's close, Yahoo! stock was down 82% year-to-date.
The put/call ratio on Yahoo! options isn't all that bearish, compared to historical figures, according to
Schaeffer's Investment Research
. Currently, put option open interest is only 37% higher than at other times this year, according to the firm, which from a contrarian point of view, isn't very bullish.
Trading in the options hasn't been robust lately, according to one market maker in the options.
Tim Boyd of
, the designated primary market maker for Yahoo! options at the CBOE, said Wednesday that since the company's last earnings report in October, trading in the options has dried up.
And Boyd does not expect volume in the options to pick up again until ahead of the company's next earnings period. Yahoo! is slated to post its next earnings report on Jan. 10.
But if investors really believe in Yahoo! and want to play Yahoo! options, they'll have to pay up, because Yahoo! options prices are extremely expensive. Boyd said the implied volatility portion of the options' price has been "through the roof."
Yahoo! shares have been dragged down in part by the general downdraft in the market this year and arguably because of its extremely high price-to-earnings multiple, which is horribly high, by traditional standards.
One of the recent problems Yahoo! stock has encountered lately has been fears of a slowdown in Internet advertising.
is running out of suitors, and traders can't unload its stock and options fast enough.
, but its reported bid was rebuffed by Quaker, maker of the popular Gatorade sports drink, because it wasn't rich enough. Then came along
, which eventually bowed out.
After the Coca-Cola news hit, sellers came in droves and dumped Quaker stock. Even word that France's
was interested in a deal couldn't help Quaker's stock Wednesday as the shares sold off big, and along with that, call option prices on Quaker collapsed.
Friday, it got worse for Quaker stock after Danone said Thursday it isn't going to pursue a Quaker deal. The French company said it "would not be in the best interests of its shareholders nor consistent with its stated strategy of creating shareholder value."
Quaker's stock was off $4 to $83. The heaviest volume in Quaker options was in the December 90
calls, which were down 1 1/4 ($125) to 1 5/8 ($162.50).
It's likely that traders who bought calls amid the recent run-up in the stock could be selling back the calls to close out their positions.