Ball Corporation (BLL) Targeted for More Volatility

Ball Corporation's (BLL) March-dated options were used to construct a long strangle

Feb 5, 2015 at 2:58 PM
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It's a big day on the M&A front, and aluminum can maker Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) topped out at a record high of $73.50 earlier -- but was last seen 8.7% higher at $71.92 -- on speculation the company could be on the verge of purchasing its London-based counterpart, Rexam. In the options pits, overall volume has surged to 51 times the average intraday pace. What's more, volatility expectations are high, per BLL's 30-day at-the-money implied volatility, which is docked at an annual high of 27.1%.

One trader in particular is rolling the dice on another big swing for the stock, but isn't really concerned as to which direction it will be. Specifically, it appears she initiated a long strangle with the March 70 put and March 75 call, for a net debit of $3.40 per pair of contracts. This is the most she stands to lose, should BLL settle in between the strikes at March options expiration. Profit, meanwhile, will accumulate on rally above $78.40 (call strike plus net debit), or a plunge below $66.60 (put strike minus net debit).

Expanding the sentiment scope reveals calls have had the edge over puts among options slated to expire in three months or less. In fact, Ball Corporation's (NYSE:BLL) Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.28 ranks lower than 97% of similar readings taken over the past 52 weeks, meaning short-term speculators have rarely been as call-skewed as they are now.


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