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TODAY’S NOTABLE MARKET ACTION

Some notable action today from various markets:

  • The VIX hit a new 52 week low.
  • Call options in oil producers and refiners was heavy today as oil surged to a new 52 week high:

VLO – Valero Energy Corp. – New ratings coverage of ‘equal weight’ by analysts at Morgan Stanley today sent option traders into a call buying frenzy on the oil refining company. Shares of VLO are currently soaring 6.5% higher to stand at $20.03. Call-volume surged at the October 20 strike where more than 16,100 contracts were purchased for an average premium of 8 pennies apiece. The October 20 strike is now in-the-money by 3 cents, allowing investors to exercise their right to buy shares of the underlying stock for an effective price of $20.08 each. Traders may also decide to accumulate short term gains if shares rally through the breakeven point at $20.08 ahead of expiration tomorrow.

SU – Suncor Energy, Inc. – A couple of bullish calendar rolls caught our attention this afternoon on Suncor Energy. Shares of the Canada-based energy firm slipped nearly 1% lower to stand at $38.99. The first of the two calendar rolls involved 2,000 calls at the December 32 strike which were originally purchased for 3.50 apiece on September 9, 2009, and sold today for 7.50. Net profits on the sale amount to 4.00 per contract. The trader expanded the size of the new call position at the January 47.5 strike by buying 3,000 lots for about 75 cents apiece. The larger of the two transactions involved a larger number of call options. Approximately 11,000 calls were originally bought for a maximum of 2.30 each on September 8, 2009. Today the position was closed by the investor who sold the calls for 5.05 per contract. Net profits on the transaction amount to an average 2.75 per contract. Again, the calls were rolled to the January contract but this time the investor paid 1.85 to buy 18,000 calls at the January 42.5 strike. Profit-taking aside, the investor or investors responsible for the calendar rolls are expecting shares of SU to rise by expiration in January.

  • Goldman added WuXi PharmaTech to their conviction buy list with a $15.60 price target.
  • Allegheny Tech (ATI) was upgrade from neutral to buy at UBS.
  • Credit Suisse upgraded Donaldson (DCI) to outperform with a $41 price target.
  • Wells Fargo upgrade Newfield Exploration to outperform.