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Traders Targeting some Sirius (SIRI) Upside

In-the-money calls active on the satellite radio heavyweight

by 6/28/2012 11:00:03 AM
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The options crowd has continued to neglect Sirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI - 1.86) since we last checked in on the home that Howard built. On June 15, average daily option volume was around 18,000 contracts, down from 27,000 in late April. These days, SIRI is lucky if it sees 10,000 option contracts cross the tape on a given day. But right out of the gate this morning, some bullish SIRI traders started buying calls.

The August 1.5-strike call has seen almost 900 contracts change hands, nearly doubling existing open interest at the in-the-money strike. All of this volume has traded at the ask price of $0.39, indicating the calls are being bought to open. At August options expiration -- which falls two weeks after the company's next earnings report -- SIRI shares would need to be trading above $1.89 to make this call profitable. Gains are unlimited for the life of the call, as long as the stock moves higher, while losses are capped at the initial premium.

The 2.0-strike call is in focus for the front-month series, easily outweighing all other strikes in terms of existing open interest. The 12,000-plus open July 2.0-strike calls could provide a headwind for the shares through July expiration in three weeks.

Generally speaking, calls have held center stage; the call/put volume ratio at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) over the past month reads 8.02, meaning eight calls have been bought to open for every one put. This is a relatively average reading for SIRI, which is understandable given its low-priced status (there are limited out-of-the-money puts for bears who want to bet on a pullback).

Technically speaking, SIRI did in fact violate its 80-week moving average but continues to hold about a consolidating zone that kept the stock afloat in the second half of 2011. Year-over-year, however, the shares are off almost 9%.



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