2 Massive Bullish Options Bets On IAMGOLD Corp (USA) (IAG)

IAMGOLD Corp's (USA) (NYSE:IAG) March 4 call is seeing an influx of buy-to-open activity

Oct 13, 2016 at 2:24 PM
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Gold futures are trading higher, as disappointing Chinese trade data puts pressure on the U.S. dollar, while a decline in the broader stock market heightens the precious metal's safe-haven appeal. As such, gold stocks are getting a lift, with mining name IAMGOLD Corp (USA) (NYSE:IAG) last seen up 3.3% at $3.50. What's more, with 41,144 IAG call options on the tape, volume has exceeded the expected intraday volume of 932 calls by a factor of 44, but also surpassed the previous 12-month high of 8,864 calls traded in single session, set on Aug. 9.

Almost all of the day's activity can be traced to two massive blocks of 20,000 March 4 calls that were bought to open, according to Trade-Alert. One block crossed at an ask price of $0.45 apiece, while the other traded near the ask price for $0.425 each. It's not clear whether these trades are related, but, putting it all together -- number of contracts * premium paid * 100 shares per contract -- the initial cash outlays for these bets were $900,000 and $850,000, respectively. This also represents the most the call buyers stand to lose, should the contracts expire out of the money in March.

More broadly speaking, call buying has been picking up steam in IAG's options pits in recent months. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the security's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 8.79 ranks in the elevated 74th annual percentile.

Additionally, IAG's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.31 indicates call open interest more than triples put open interest among options set to expire in three months or less. Plus, this ratio ranks lower than 92% of all comparable readings taken in the past year, meaning short-term speculators have rarely been as call-heavy toward IAG as they are now.

On the charts, IAG -- as with many of its fellow gold stocks -- had a monumental rise over the first eight months of the year, with IAG, specifically, nearly tripling in value over that time frame. However, the sector has struggled of late, as hawkish Fed talk has fueled expectations of an impending rate hike. Nevertheless, while shares of IAMGOLD Corp (USA) (NYSE:IAG) have shed 83% since hitting a two-year high in early August, they seem to have found a recent foothold atop their 200-day moving average.

IAG daily chart october 13

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