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Cirrus Logic Option Traders Anticipate Short-Term Speed Bumps

CRUS traders sold out-of-the-money calls

by 1/3/2013 10:54 AM
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The shares of Cirrus Logic, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRUS - 29.78) rallied along with the broader equities market on Wednesday, but it appears some options traders are gambling on limited upside for the tech concern. More specifically, the investors sold calls to bet on familiar resistance for CRUS, or to supplement income in the event of near-term stagnation.

During the course of the session, CRUS saw roughly 9,300 calls cross the tape -- about twice its average daily volume, and three times the number of puts exchanged. Most popular were the out-of-the-money January 2013 31- and 33-strike calls, which saw about 2,000 and 1,700 contracts change hands. The majority of the calls traded at the bid price, and call open interest rose at both front-month strikes overnight, pointing to sell-to-open activity.

By writing the calls to open, the sellers are expecting CRUS to remain south of the respective strikes through the next couple of weeks. In this best-case scenario, the calls will expire worthless, and the sellers can pocket the entire premium received at initiation.

Of course, if the call sellers are also CRUS shareholders -- meaning the calls are "covered" -- their primary goal is for the stock to power higher; the sale of the calls simply generates revenue in the face of short-term speed bumps. However, should CRUS extend its recent rebound and surmount the aforementioned call strikes, the calls will move into the money, and the writers could be forced to sell their CRUS shares at a discount -- and miss out on additional upside.

At last check, the shares of CRUS -- like the broader equities market -- have pared a portion of their recent gains. Nevertheless, the stock is on pace for a weekly gain of about 9.8%, and could finish north of its 10-week moving average for the first time since mid-September. On the other hand, the security could run into a wall in the $31-$32 neighborhood, which has contained CRUS' rally attempts over the past couple of months.

Weekly Chart of CRUS since September 2012 With 10-Week Moving Average


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