Monday, June 14, 2010

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ) - Call Spreader with Put Sales

CNQ is trading 37.03, up 2.5% with IV30™ down 2.0%. The LIVEVOL™ Pro Summary is below.

This is an independent crude oil exploration, development and production company.

The company has traded over 7,000 options in the first hour on total daily average option volume of just 2,061. A single trade put up 6,000 of those contracts on Dec 42.5/47.5 call spread purchase 2,000x with July 34 puts sold to fund it 2,000x. 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 calls and the puts are substantially opening (compare trade volume to OI). Note also that earnings are in August (projection). This sells summer vol with "no news" and buys the back month. The Dec purchase is a little odd since Sep options are available ( the Sep options are omitted from the snap of options tab but they exist).

Trade Stats
Buy 2,000 Dec 42.5 calls for $1.95
Sell 2,000 Dec 47.5 calls @ $0.75
Sell 2,000 Jul 34 puts @ $0.60
Total debit: 2,000*100*($1.95 - $0.75 -$0.60) = $120,000

Max Gain on Dec. expo. (at or above $47.5): $880,000

The PnL chart at Dec. expo is included (click to enlarge):

The Skew Tab snap (click to enlarge) illustrates the specific vols for each option in the trade. You can see the elevated vol for the OTM puts relative to the calls.

Finally, 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.

The 52 wk. high is just $40.12 and the 52 wk. low is $22.52. This bets on the stock going above $42.5 and definitely not going below $34 (it's naked short 200,000 deltas below that level). I also note that the Sep calls are actually lower vol than the Dec calls.

This is trade analysis, not a recommendation.

Legal Stuff:


  1. Thanks for posting.
    Do you think that earnings may possibly be in September and thus the trader doesn't want to add additional uncertainty to a position?

  2. I think earnings are in early August. Either way, the Dec options have the late summer earnings cycle like Sep (i.e. Dec has all of Sep risk + a couple months).

    I'm not really sure why they chose Dec, but I don't think it's an accident. Oil prices can be cyclical so...

  3. Maybe they are going to bail after the July expir....Don't know why