Stocks quoted in this article:
Option volume is heavier than usual today on both DryShips Inc. (DRYS) and Sirius XM Radio Inc. (SIRI). The drybulk shipping issue and the satellite radio company don't have a whole lot in common at first glance, but they do share a common thread today -- both stocks are seeing a flurry of activity in their longer-term options series, with speculators showing a distinct preference for Long-Term Equity AnticiPation Securities (LEAPS) on DRYS and SIRI.
First up, call activity on DRYS has climbed to 1.22 times the norm, with more than 4,400 contracts changing hands so far. Most active is the security's January 2011 5-strike call, where 2,925 contracts have been exchanged -- about 93% at the ask price, revealing a bias toward buying activity. Implied volatility on this LEAPS strike has climbed by 4.4 percentage points at last check.
On the charts, DRYS shares are holding close to breakeven at last check. The stock is trading below short-term resistance at its 10-day and 20-day moving averages, and the shares have also breached support at their 50-day trendline. DRYS is now testing support at the $4 level.
As for SIRI, the stock was the subject of a straddle strategy earlier today. Specifically, the speculator purchased a block of 1,500 January 2012 1-strike calls, and simultaneously bought a matching amount of January 2012 1-strike puts. SIRI was trading squarely at $1 at the time these trades were executed, placing both options right at the money.
The ultimate goal in this long-term straddle is for SIRI to make a drastic move higher or lower, so that the gains from the profitable option will offset the increased cost of entry on the spread. This particular straddle was opened for a net debit of $0.51, placing breakeven at $0.49 on the downside and $1.51 on the upside.