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Michael Kors (KORS) Options Seller Sees a Roadblock at $60

One trader hones in on KORS May 60 strike to bet on reduced volatility

by 2/27/2013 10:47 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

As clothier Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS - 59.47) continues its run up the charts, one trader is looking to cash in just north of the stock's current trading position. Yesterday, one investor sold a short straddle at the May 60 strike, helping boost overall call traffic to nearly double the normal amount.

In the final hour of Tuesday's trading, one investor sold 3,800 calls at the May 60 strike for $3.80 per contract on the AMEX exchange. At the exact same time, he/she sold 3,649 puts for $4.80 apiece. According to trading floor sources, this was indeed a short straddle, or when an investor sells calls and puts at the same strike price expecting minimal movement on the stock, seeking to profit inside a band around the strike price -- in this case, $60.

For the trade to be profitable, the shares have to close between the two breakeven points of $51.40 (strike minus the net credit of $8.60) and $68.60 (strike plus net credit) on the expiration date of May 17. This represents either a 13.6% drop from current levels or a 15.3% climb from the current stock price, giving the trader a fairly wide range at which he or she is profitable. The trade becomes unprofitable if the stock closes either below or above those two prices, respectively. The trader theoretically could face unlimited losses if the stock rises above the higher breakeven point, and a loss of up to $51.40 per straddle, in the unlikely event that the stock drops to $0.

Given KORS' current trajectory, a loss on the call side would be more likely. KORS is up 16.1% so far this year, boosted earlier this month by a stellar earnings report -- and up roughly 37% year over year. It has also beaten the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by nearly 13 percentage points over the last two months. And with a Relative Strength Index (RSI) of 54, KORS is not yet close to "overbought" territory, and has more room to run.

In the option pits, sentiment is definitely bullish toward KORS. The equity's 10-day call/put volume ratio on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) stands at 3.43, meaning more than three times as many calls are being purchased to open as puts. In addition, that stands in the 82nd percentile of similar readings taken in the last year, meaning that bullish sentiment is even stronger than normal lately and nearing an annual high.


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