Unusual play digs for gold in miner fund
David Russell | [email protected]
optionMONSTER's Heat Seeker tracking system detected the sale of 10,000 GDX January 52 puts for $2.82 and, seconds later, the purchase of 10,000 March 62 calls for $1.88. Volume was more than 5 times open interest at each strike, indicating new activity.
The GDX is up 2.64 percent to $54.11 in afternoon trading. The exchange-traded fund hit multi-year lows over the summer but has rallied 16 percent in the last three months as physical bullion advances. Its largest holdings include Barrick Gold, Goldcorp, and Newmont Mining.
Today's option trade resulted in a credit of $0.94 and offers several ways to make money. One is that the GDX simply rallies, in which case the short puts will lose value and the long calls will appreciate.
Alternatively, a near-term pullback could lead the trader to buy shares for $52. He or she would then remain leveraged to a subsequent rally with the longer-dated March calls in addition to the equity.
Finally, if the fund simply moves sideways, the trader will keep the credit as a profit as the options expire worthless. The main risk is to the downside because they will lose money on the short puts if GDX suffers a big drop.
The strategy was unusual because it involves contracts with different expiration months, and because the puts are much closer to the money than the calls. Overalls, it reflects a long-term bullish view, but uncertainty as to when the rally will take place. (See our Education section)
More than 76,500 contracts have traded in GDX so far today, compared with about 56,000 in an average session.