Wynn Resorts Options Bull Makes a Risky Gamble

The stock is higher on news Steve Wynn has exited his entire WYNN stake

by Karee Venema

Published on Mar 23, 2018 at 3:02 PM

Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN) is up 1% today to trade at $177.34, on news the casino's founder and former CEO Steve Wynn has sold his entire stake in the company. Plus, Macau's Galaxy Entertainment revealed a 5% stake in WYNN -- a move that had Jefferies reiterating its "buy" rating, while Union Gaming upgraded the stock to "buy" from "hold," and raised its price target to $205 from $175, saying the recent restructuring could open the M&A door. Analysts aren't the only ones chiming in, with options volume accelerated this afternoon.

At last check, more than 27,800 calls and 9,650 puts were on the tape -- 1.3 times what's typically seen at this point in the day. Most of the action has centered at the April 185 and 195 calls, where it looks like one trader may have initiated a call ratio spread by buying 5,000 of the former and selling 10,000 of the latter for an initial net debit of $0.89 per spread.

If this is the case, WYNN will ideally settle right at $195 at the close on Friday, April 20 -- when front-month options expire, and the day of the casino's annual shareholders meeting -- allowing the speculator to pocket the maximum potential profit of $9.11 per spread (difference between the two strikes, less the net debit). And while risk to the downside is limited to the initial cash outlay, a sharp rally could result in theoretically unlimited losses, since one of the sold calls is naked.

Looking at the charts, WYNN stock hasn't traded north of $195 since Jan. 26 -- the day sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn were first reported in The Wall Street Journal. The shares went on to dip below long-term support atop their 80-day moving average, sinking to a near-term low of $156.54 on March 2, but have since climbed back above this rising trendline. And while the equity continues to hold north of here, it's been trading in a channel of lower highs since gapping to the $192 neighborhood earlier this month.

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