By Mike Yamamoto of OptionMonster
NEW YORK -- Short-term bullish trades dominated the option activity in J.C. Penney JCP on Friday.
OptionMonster's tracking systems detected heavy buying in the Weekly 10 calls that expire on Oct. 10. The bulls started with a print of 12,300 that was purchased for the ask price of 26 cents, then kept adding until the contracts finished the session with volume of more than 16,700 and prices up to 43 cents. Previous open interest in the strike was just 993 contracts, so these are clearly new positions.
These long calls lock in the price where the stock can be purchased through expiration at the end of next week no matter how far it might climb. They could be sold earlier at a profit if premiums rise with a rally before then, providing potentially significant leverage, but the contracts will quickly lose value if shares drop.
J.C. Penney ended Friday down 2.76% to $9.86 on heavy volume but did manage to bounce off a session low of $9.54. The heavily shorted department-store operator pulled back after hitting a 52-week high of $11.30 on Sept. 12 and is trying to hold support at its 50-day moving average.
Friday's overall option volume in the name was four times its daily average for the last month. Calls made up about 64% of that total.
Yamamoto is long JCP.