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Sirius XM Radio Inc (SIRI) Option Traders See More Upside Ahead

SIRI optimists bought calls and sold puts on Friday

by 3/18/2013 9:20 AM
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Since touching a multi-year high of $3.25 in early February, the shares of Sirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI - 3.11) have taken a breather, stagnating between support in the $3.05 region and resistance at the aforementioned high. Against this backdrop, the options crowd is placing neutral-to-bullish bets on the satellite radio provider, employing both calls and puts to gamble on SIRI's trajectory over the next few months.

During the course of Friday's session, Sirius saw roughly 13,000 calls cross the tape -- more than double the norm. Meanwhile, almost 2,100 puts were exchanged, representing a 63% mark-up to the stock's average daily put volume.

Digging deeper, most of the action consisted of pre-expiration profit taking, with March 3 call holders selling to close their winning positions. Runner-up, however, was the September 3.50 call, which saw more than 1,400 contracts change hands at a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.15. Most of the calls traded on the ask side, and open interest increased over the weekend, pointing to buy-to-open activity.

By purchasing the calls to open, the buyers expect SIRI to muscle north of $3.50 within the next several months. More specifically, the traders will start to make money if Sirius edges atop the $3.65 level (strike price plus VWAP) -- in territory not charted since March 2008 -- by Sept. 20, when the options expire. Currently, delta for the calls stands at 0.33, suggesting the options market is giving the contracts a roughly 1-in-3 shot of moving into the money. However, even if SIRI remains range-bound, the most the buyers can lose is the initial premium paid for the calls.

As alluded to earlier, other, slightly less optimistic speculators utilized puts to gamble on intermediate-term support for Sirius XM Radio. The traders sold to open the June 3 puts, in hopes that the stock will remain north of $3 through the next few months. In this best-case scenario, the puts will stay out of the money, allowing the sellers to retain the entire net credit (the VWAP of $0.14) received at initiation. However, should SIRI breach the strike within the options' lifetime, the sellers could be obligated to buy shares at $3 apiece, representing a premium to what they'd pay on the Street.

Technically speaking, SIRI has advanced nearly 38% during the past year, ushered higher atop its 60-day moving average. Just last week, the security pulled back to this trendline, which has acted as a launching pad since mid-2012.

Daily Chart of SIRI since July 2012 With 60-Day Moving Average


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