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6 Things to Know About Facebook Options

Volume, notable block trades, and trends to monitor

by 5/29/2012 11:22 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

Facebook Inc (FB - 30.23) options began trading today, seven trading days after the stock's highly publicized but largely disastrous initial public offering on May 18. Here are some points option speculators should know.

  1. FB options are currently available for eight expiration cycles: June, July, August, September, December, January 2013, March 2013, and January 2014. Strike prices – while initially intended to range from $16 to $49 – now range from $10 to $50. That's $20 below and above the stock's current price, representing a downside or upside swing of 66%. The strikes move in a $1 increment.

  2. Puts are outnumbering calls, 67,000 to 51,000. This is not surprising, as bears may be looking for a way to bet against the shares but are unable to short them. The stock is off almost 5.5% today and has lost more than one-fifth of its value from its out-of-the-gate price two Fridays ago.

  3. Out-of-the-money calls are the most popular option type today, at 43,000 contracts traded. Second place goes to out-of-the-money puts, with 31,000 contracts changing hands. In-the-money and at-the-money put volume easily trumps call volume, however, resulting in the high put/call ratio as noted above.

  4. The most-active strike, not surprisingly, is the front-month, at-the-money June 30-strike put. More than 11,000 contracts have traded, with 41% going off at the ask price, 38% at the mid, and 21% at the bid price. Implied volatility of this option is approximately 62%. Second is the June 34 call, with 7,800 contracts (39% ask, 39% mid, 22% bid).

  5. The largest block trades have gone off at the July 25 and 32 puts, both of which saw blocks of 3,050 change hands just after 10:00 a.m. Eastern. The 25 put traded below the bid price at $0.75 each and the 32 put traded at the mid price of $3.70 apiece. Traders could be opening a bear put spread by selling the lower-strike put and buying the higher-strike put, paying a net debit of $2.95. The maximum loss for this strategy is the debit paid; the maximum potential gain is $4.05 per spread, should FB drop below the 25 strike by expiration.

  6. Current volume indicates we could hit 400,000 by the end of the trading day. According to Henry Schwartz from, that would make it the best first-day listing in options history.


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