Whatever the cause of the lag in Apple shares, NASDAQ OMX Alpha AAPL vs. SPY Index (AVSPY) was down 2.5% on the day as a result. We have traded options on this index profitably before, but for those who are unfamiliar, AVSPY tracks the daily total return of AAPL versus SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). Essentially, a long position in the index would be a bet that Apple will outperform the broad market.
An interesting trade was filled in this product on Tuesday. Typically, customers trade AVSPY options in lots of 5 or 10 contracts, but one trader sold the March 155 puts naked 3,000 times at a price of $7.90, about a half hour before the market close. That's a very bullish bet that Apple will continue to outperform over the next six months - if the trader is correct, the value of the premium collected is $2.37M.
I don't care to commit to a position that far out in time, but I do share the same general view. Who doesn't? SPY is still 13% exposed to the financial sector, the anchor around the neck of the U.S. economy. For AAPL to underperform the broad market over time would require a serious misstep from Cupertino.
Because premiums in the options are about as high as they've ever been, a call purchase is not a great idea. Traders who share the thesis of the trade could establish a synthetic long position -- effectively "owning" AVSPY even though the underlying is not tradeable -- by buying an at-the-money call and selling an at-the-money put. I want to be positioned with less risk, so let's sell a vertical put spread on the view that AAPL will continue to be a relative market leader, even if the market as a whole doesn't go anywhere. One thing I like about these relative value plays is that they don't require a directional opinion about stocks in general, i.e. this trade is still viable if you are generally bearish about the market.
Trades: Buy to open AVSPY November 150 puts for $1.95 and sell to open AVSPY November 155 puts at $2.75.
**On Wednesday, October 19 at 6:00 p.m. EDT, TheStreet's Options Profits is hosting a webinar featuring Fred Ruffy of WhatsTrading.com. Join Fred as he outlines how to look at the "big picture", drill down into the sectors and ultimately find the individual options trade. Utilizing specific trade examples and case studies, Fred will show you how to select simple and advanced options plays. The back half of the webinar will include an interactive, exciting Q&A session.
Please email: email@example.com to secure a slot for the webinar as space is limited and for the link to the presentation. If you have already RSVPd there is NO NEED to resend. I have it reserved for you.
OptionsProfits can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OptionsProfits