The swift and steady decline in the price of oil continues to rattle markets this week, with the early comments about cheap energy hurting oil-related companies but boosting airlines, and autos turning a bit more ominous (stability in Russia and the middle east, US is a net exporter, etc.)
One trader jumped into Tesoro (TSO) early Monday with a purchase of puts that worked out well as the sector continued to decline, with crude off nearly 4%. While it's possible the buyer was hedging long stock, the aggressive execution suggests more of a strategic play in the face of growing global concern over "how low can it go" and, more importantly, what fallout may we see if oil continues to slide. Either way, the buyer's outlay of $468,000 was worth over $1 million six hours later.
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Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) have been active lately, with TWTR sliding after a bearish article in Barron's and FB attempting to claw its way back toward the $80 highs seen before shares took a 6% hit after earnings in late October. Early Tuesday a buyer paid from $1.76 to $1.82 for a total of 2,000 Dec 74.5 calls in an aggressive sweep as shares traded $74.81. While there is significant open interest at the strike (7,200 contracts), today's buyer appears to add to flow seen yesterday when similar size was bought in the $2.35-$2.45 range when shares were higher.
TWTR calls have been very active as well, despite an extended decline in share price that is nearly $20 below the $55 highs touched in October. Yesterday TWTR shares saw a bounce off lows on unconfirmed chatter that Apple (AAPL) may be considering a bid for the company, and call volume was 70% above normal, with 170,000 trading and new positions being opened in the June 55 calls ($20 away!) and December 36 and 37 lines. Shares were off 1% Tuesday morning, but call buyers are persisting, with 5,300 Dec 34 calls trading in the first hour of the day, and buyers paying $1.85-$1.95 to open new positions.