Interesting January 2015 Stock Options for IBM

Consistently, one of the more popular stocks people enter into their stock options watchlist at Stock Options Channel is International Business Machines Corp. ( IBM). So this week we highlight one interesting put contract, and one interesting call contract, from the January 2015 expiration for IBM. The put contract our YieldBoost algorithm identified as particularly interesting, is at the $145 strike, which has a bid at the time of this writing of $2.45. Collecting that bid as the premium represents a 1.7% return against the $145 commitment, or a 1.9% annualized rate of return (at Stock Options Channel we call this the YieldBoost).

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Top YieldBoost IBM Puts »

Selling a put does not give an investor access to IBM's upside potential the way owning shares would, because the put seller only ends up owning shares in the scenario where the contract is exercised. So unless International Business Machines Corp. sees its shares decline 21.1% and the contract is exercised (resulting in a cost basis of $142.55 per share before broker commissions, subtracting the $2.45 from $145), the only upside to the put seller is from collecting that premium for the 1.9% annualized rate of return.

Turning to the other side of the option chain, we highlight one call contract of particular interest for the January 2015 expiration, for shareholders of International Business Machines Corp. ( IBM) looking to boost their income beyond the stock's 2.1% annualized dividend yield. Selling the covered call at the $200 strike and collecting the premium based on the $5.20 bid, annualizes to an additional 3.2% rate of return against the current stock price (this is what we at Stock Options Channel refer to as the YieldBoost), for a total of 5.3% annualized rate in the scenario where the stock is not called away. Any upside above $200 would be lost if the stock rises there and is called away, but IBM shares would have to advance 8.8% from current levels for that to happen, meaning that in the scenario where the stock is called, the shareholder has earned a 11.7% return from this trading level, in addition to any dividends collected before the stock was called.

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Top YieldBoost IBM Calls »

The chart below shows the trailing twelve month trading history for International Business Machines Corp., highlighting in green where the $145 strike is located relative to that history, and highlighting the $200 strike in red:

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The chart above, and the stock's historical volatility, can be a helpful guide in combination with fundamental analysis to judge whether selling the January 2015 put or call options highlighted in this article deliver a rate of return that represents good reward for the risks. We calculate the trailing twelve month volatility for International Business Machines Corp. (considering the last 251 trading day IBM historical stock prices using closing values, as well as today's price of $183.77) to be 19%.

In mid-afternoon trading on Monday, the put volume among S&P 500 components was 704,886 contracts, with call volume at 1.20M, for a put:call ratio of 0.59 so far for the day. Compared to the long-term median put:call ratio of .65, that represents high call volume relative to puts; in other words, buyers are showing a preference for calls in options trading so far today. Find out which 15 call and put options traders are talking about today.

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