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Short-term bulls rushed in to buy calls on The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA – 74.35) Wednesday, possibly looking to cash in on the company's stronger-than-expected earnings and take some profit before the ongoing Dreamliner 787 grounding pulls BA shares down. Overall, call volume nearly doubled what is seen on an average trading day, while put volume was only slightly above normal levels.
The weekly 2/1 75-strike call was especially in play, with nearly 5,800 contracts trading, the majority of which changed hands at the ask price. As volume exceeded existing open interest, it was likely that at least some of these trades were bought to open. Given the volume-weighted average (VWAP) price of $0.35, the stock would need to jump 1.3% to $75.35 (strike price plus VWAP) by Friday's close in order for these calls to be profitable; otherwise, the traders would only be out the premium paid.
There are some possible headwinds between now and Friday's strike date, however. Shares jumped 1.3% Wednesday after BA announced fourth-quarter 2012 earnings per share of $1.28, roundly beating the consensus estimate of $1.19. However, BA shares were off slightly this morning as the market opened, and worries about the battery problem surrounding the Dreamliner continue to plague the company. One report indicated that BA's largest Dreamliner customer -- All Nippon Airways -- has already lost $15 million from the grounding. The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the 50-plane fleet nearly three weeks ago because of several battery fires, and all other countries quickly followed suit.