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Options Radar: BlackBerry Ltd, Hertz Global Holdings, and SodaStream

Reviewing notable options activity on BlackBerry Ltd, Hertz Global Holdings, Inc., and SodaStream International Ltd

by 8/20/2014 12:40 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

Option traders have taken a shine to smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), car rental firm Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HTZ), and at-home beverage issue SodaStream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA). Here's a look at how speculators have been placing their bets on BBRY, HTZ, and SODA today.

  • BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is trading 3.3% higher at $10.18, as anticipation builds for the company's anticipated Passport launch next month. Intraday call volume is running at a 60% mark-up to the norm, and has nearly quadrupled BBRY put volume thus far. Short-term options are growing increasingly popular, as the stock's 30-day at-the-money (ATM) implied volatility (IV) has jumped 4.9% to 42.5%. Digging deeper, it appears short-term bulls are buying to open the weekly 8/22 10- and 10.50-strike calls, amid expectations for more upside this week. Slightly longer-term bulls, meanwhile, are purchasing to open September 10 and 11 calls, on hopes that BBRY will extend its journey higher through the close on Friday, Sept. 19, when front-month options expire.

  • Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HTZ) has surrendered 9.3% to trade at $28.63 -- and landed on the short-sale restricted list -- after the firm withdrew its full-year financial guidance. Bears are taking to the options pits instead, with intraday put volume running at 32 times the average rate. It looks like one trader is gambling on a lengthier slide for HTZ, initiating a put ratio spread in the January 2015 series. Specifically, the speculator bought to open 3,100 January 2015 28-strike puts, and then lowered his cost of entry by selling to open twice as many January 2015 24-strike puts. In the best-case scenario, HTZ will settle right at $24 when January 2015 options expire, and the trader can collect $3 per spread (difference between strikes minus net debit of $1). Should HTZ remain atop $28, the strategist will forfeit the initial net debit, while losses will add up on a move south of $24, as half of the sold puts are "naked."

  • Finally, SodaStream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA) is up 4.7% at $34.29, with speculators on StockTwits chatting up rumors of a buyout or a partnership with PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP). Whatever the motive, SODA's short-term options are hot, as the stock's 30-day ATM IV has popped 9.1% to 41.9%. Calls are the options of choice, with roughly 5,000 contracts exchanged, compared to fewer than 650 puts. Digging deeper, it looks like bulls are circling the weekly 8/22 34-strike call, where volume has surpassed open interest and IV has jumped 3.6 percentage points. More ambitious bulls, meanwhile, are apparently buying to open the September 35 call, amid expectations for SODA to topple the strike within the next few weeks.

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