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Las Vegas Sands Option Traders Bet on a Strong Friday Finish

LVS' 2/1 56-strike calls saw buy-to-open activity on Thursday

by 2/1/2013 10:32 AM
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Call volume was accelerated on Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS - 54.70) yesterday, after the casino concern's well-received quarterly announcement helped the stock spike 7% on the day. Around 68,000 contracts crossed the tape, more than doubling the average daily volume for call options. Eleventh-hour traders scooped up LVS' 2/1 56-strike calls, hoping Thursday's positive price action continues through the end of today's session. A healthy portion of the nearly 4,400 contracts that traded went off at the ask price, and open interest rose overnight, pointing to buy-to-open activity.

By purchasing these out-of-the-money calls for a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.20, traders will begin to profit with each step north of $56.20 (strike plus VWAP) LVS takes through tonight's closing bell, at which point these weekly options will expire. This is a 2.7% premium to the equity's current perch. At last night's close, delta for this call was docked at 30%, implying a roughly 1-in-3 chance this option will finish in the money by the end of the session.

Expanding the scope reveals speculators have been rather fond of LVS' short-term calls. The stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.78 ranks in the 36th percentile of its annual range, indicating traders are more call-heavy than usual toward options expiring in three months or less.

This collection of calls could create a speed bump for LVS in the near term, though. In today's quickly expiring weekly series of options, the 55 strike is home to peak call open interest. LVS may encounter some options-related resistance as the roughly 4,500 contracts that reside here are unwound throughout the session.

In fact, the stock has pulled back roughly 1.3% on news that Macau's gambling revenue rose by a slimmer-than-expected margin in January. At last check, LVS was hovering near the $54.70 mark. Should the equity be unable to muscle above $56.20 by the time the closing bell sounds later today, the most Thursday's call buyers have risked is the initial premium paid.


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