National Bank of Greece (NBG) Puts Hot After Tsipras Resigns

National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NYSE:NBG) is tumbling today, after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation

by Karee Venema

Published on Aug 20, 2015 at 3:22 PM
Updated on Aug 20, 2015 at 3:24 PM

National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NYSE:NBG) has plummeted this afternoon -- down 7.7% at $0.76 -- following reports Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has resigned. The move isn't a result of Tsipras throwing in the towel, though; more as an effort to fortify his party's position over critical legislation, including the recently passed bailout deal. Speculation is swirling that a snap election could be held as soon as Sunday, Sept. 20.

The negative price action has sparked a rush of put activity in NBG's options pits, with the contracts crossing at three times the average intraday rate -- and outpacing calls by a 10-to-1 margin. Most active are the stock's August 1 and January 2016 0.50-strike puts. According to Trade-Alert, it looks as if the front-month puts are being sold to close and the back-month options are being bought to open, as one trader rolls her bearish bet down and out.

More broadly speaking, today's accelerated put activity is just more of the same for NBG. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the security's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 3.82 ranks in the 96th annual percentile. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls with more rapidity just 4% of the time within the past year.

Echoing this is NBG's front-month gamma-weighted Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 2.06. Simply stated, near-the-money puts more than double calls among options set to expire tomorrow evening (when August-dated options cease trading).

Currently, peak put open interest in the front-month series is located at the August 1 strike, where 59,552 contracts reside. Since June 11, almost 22,800 contracts have been bought to open here at the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX, meaning speculators have been rolling the dice on a sub-$1 settlement tomorrow. Year-to-date, National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) has shed 57.5%, and hasn't traded north of $1 since July 24.

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