Friday, May 14, 2010

Campbell Soup (CPB) - Vol Pattern and Order Flow

CPB is trading 35.45 with IV30™ up 11.5%. The LIVEVOL™ Pro Summary is below.

The company has traded over 3,100 options in the first two hours on total daily average option volume of just 583. All but 258 contracts have been puts. The action is in the May and Jun 37.5 puts. The Stats Tab and Day's biggest trades snapshots are included (click either image to enlarge).

The Options Tab (click to enlarge) illustrates that the puts are opening (compare OI to trade size). You can also see that Jun vol is up with earnings (a vol event).

The Skew Tab snap (click to enlarge) illustrates the vol in the Jun 37.5 puts relative to the other strikes and months.

This is an "unusual" put purchase in that they're deeps (i.e. high delta). This can mean a few things.

1) It's just a really bearish bet
2) The puts are getting turned into calls (buy puts + buy stock = buy call)
3) It's a hedge - though usually hedges are < 50 delta, not deeps.

The trade became more interesting to me when I looked at the Charts. The Charts Tab (6 months) is below (click to enlarge). The top portion is the stock price, the bottom is the vol (IV30™ - red vs HV20™ - blue). The yellow shaded area at the very bottom is the IV30™ vs. the HV20™ vol difference.

Looking at the bottom portion we can see the IV30™ has been above the HV20™ (in English, the option vol has been more expensive than the actual realized vol, or the red line is above the blue line) since mid Jan 2010. You can see the two converged (almost) last earnings.

The numerical values are included below (click to enlarge).

Note that the "IV" values are above the "HV" values. Some possible trades:

1) Standard, follow the order flow - buy vol in Jun and watch it rise into earnings.
2) Or... Do the opposite - buy stock and sell calls. Then you can sell the elevated vol (relative to HV) covered (could also sell a straddle which is more risky).
3) Time Spread - look at month to month vol diffs.
4) Nothing...

I believe at some point within the not too distant past CPB was a takeover candidate, just a heads up... It also has a pretty decent divi (note that if you're long or short stock). The divi could be another factor to consider in the long stock/sell call strategy (i.e. the buy write). Also note that CPB is vey close to a 52 wk. high.

This is trade analysis, not a recommendation.

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