Safeway Draws Bullish Option Activity

By Mike Yamamoto, managing editor of OptionMonster

NEW YORK -- Safeway ( SWY) attracted bullish option activity on Friday, two days after gapping higher on plans to spin off its gift-card business.

OptionMonster's real-time tracking system detected the purchase of 7,606 March 16 calls, led by a single print of 6,400 that went for $1.45. Open interest in the strike was a mere 143 at the beginning of the day, so this was fresh buying.

Safeway's stock fell 1.03% on Friday to close at $16.32. The supermarket chain spiked above $17 on Wednesday after announcing that it would launch an initial public offering for its gift card unit, Blackhawk Network, in the first half of next year. Shares broke above their 50-day average on that news.

If the March 16 calls are held until expiration, the stock would need to be above $17.45 for the options to be profitable. Premiums on those contracts could increase anytime before then if the shares rise, allowing traders to sell the calls with gains sooner, but the options will expire worthless if no rally occurs.

Overall option volume in the name totaled 10,752, well above its daily average of 3,737. Calls outpaced puts by 6 to 1, a reflection of the session's bullish bias.

Yamamoto has no positions in SWY.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

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