Options Traders Blast Brazil ETF, PBR Stock After Bolsonaro Win

PBR is also getting a lift from an analyst upgrade

Oct 8, 2018 at 11:30 AM
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Brazilian stocks are gaining today, after far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro won the first round of the country's presidential election. At last check, the shares of the iShares MSCI Brazil ETF (EWZ) are trading up 6.6% at $39.06 -- on track to for their first close north of the 200-day moving average since April 30 -- and options volume is surging.

brazil etf daily price chart on oct 8

Roughly 128,000 calls and 134,000 puts have traded on EWZ so far today, three times what's typically seen at this point and volume pacing in the 100th annual percentile. Most active is the November 31 put, though the activity here appears to be tied.

Elsewhere, it looks like new traders may be purchasing new positions at the October 39.50 call for a volume-weighted average price of $0.95. If this is the case, breakeven for the call buyers at the close next Friday, Oct. 19 -- ahead of Brazil's Oct. 28 runoff election -- is $40.45 (strike plus premium paid).

Meanwhile, the stock's 30-day at-the-money implied volatility (IV) of 46.4% is docked in the 93rd percentile of its annual range. However, calls are pricing in lower volatility expectations than their put counterparts. This is based on EWZ's 30-day IV skew of 26%, which arrives in the 99th percentile of its 12-month range.

Options volume is also popping on Brazil oil stock Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE:PBR), which was last seen trading up 9.3% at $15.20 -- set to close a late-May bear gap -- after Santander upgraded the shares to "buy" from "hold." The brokerage firm also set a Street-high $20 price target for PBR, territory not charted since September 2014.

pbr stock daily price chart on oct 8

Speculative players appear to be jumping on the bullish bandwagon, too, with around 175,000 calls traded so far -- almost four times the number of puts traded, and volume pacing in the 100th percentile of its 12-month range. It's possible one trader is selling to close their October 16 calls and rolling them out to the weekly 11/2 series -- potentially looking to capitalize on another post-election pop.

Those currently buying premium on short-term PBR options have to contend with elevated volatility expectations, though, which could make it more challenging to maximize the benefit of leverage. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 81% ranks in the 89th annual percentile, pointing to relatively rich volatility premiums, historically speaking.

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