Market News

March 7, 2014  Fri 9:33 AM CT

Traders are landing in the airlines, with bullish three-way combination plays in Delta Airlines and United Continental.

The first action came in DAL this morning as more than 36,000 options traded, more than twice its daily average in the last month. optionMONSTER systems show that a trader bought 10,000 September 36 calls for the ask price of $3.45 and sold 10,00 each of September 42 calls for the bid price of $1.21 and the September 30 puts for the bid price of $1.69. Previous open interest was below 600 contracts at all three strikes, so this is a new combination trade.

Traders turned to UAL about 10 minutes later, also in the September expiration. This time it was blocks of 8,000, with the 48 calls bought for the ask of $5.80 while the 55 calls sold for $3.15 and the 38 puts sold for the bid price of $2.10. These too exceeded previous open interest.

In both cases the trader spent $0.55, which is the risk between the short puts and the lower long-call strike. The maximum gains come with the stocks at or above the higher strike prices. The trader faces the obligation to buy shares if they are below the put strike. (See our Education section)

DAL is up 0.59 percent to $35.58 after hitting a new all-time intraday high of $35.85 this morning. UAL is down 0.9 percent to $47.55.

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