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It appears Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY - 12.21) option traders could be in celebration mode this morning, with the stock pointed higher ahead of the bell. During the course of yesterday's session, the electronics retailer saw accelerated activity on both sides of the tape, with speculators employing both calls and puts to place neutral-to-bullish bets.
The stock saw roughly 26,000 calls change hands, representing a 27% mark-up to its average daily call volume. Traders established new positions at the January 2013 13-strike call, which saw open interest soar by more than 8,000 contracts overnight -- the most of any strike. Plus, the majority of the calls crossed at the ask price, hinting at buyer-driven volume.
By purchasing the calls to open, the buyers expect BBY to muscle atop the $13 level by the end of next week, when front-month options expire. More specifically, the calls traded at a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.29, indicating a breakeven level of $13.29 (strike plus VWAP) for the buyers. In pre-market action, BBY is hovering just north of $13, up roughly 6.6%.
Elsewhere, BBY saw around 31,000 puts cross the tape yesterday -- more than double the norm. Speculators initiated new positions at the January 2013 11-strike put, which saw open interest climb by more than 3,800 contracts overnight. However, the bulk of the puts changed hands at the bid price, pointing to sell-to-open activity.
By writing the puts to open, the sellers expect BBY to remain north of $11 through the close on Friday, Jan. 18. In this best-case scenario, the puts will remain out of the money, and the sellers can pocket the initial premium received from the sale -- likely in the ballpark of $0.19, the VWAP of the puts.
As alluded to earlier, the shares of BBY are headed for a higher open, after the company reported relatively flat holiday sales in the U.S. -- better than the expected year-over-year drop. The numbers have seemingly overshadowed the firm's reduced estimates for free cash flow in 2013, attributed to earlier-than-expected inventory payments.