Lifting the Axle

Today’s tickers: AXL, PALM, POT, XLF, EMR, AA, & BIIB AXL – Shares of the Tier 1 supplier of parts and components to the automotive industry have rallied more than 8.5% to a whopping $2.78 today. The improvement in the stock, since touching down to just 26 cents on March 9, 2009, prompted one uber-bullish investor to enact a call spread in the October contract. The trader seems to have determined that the $300 million cut in AXL’s second- and third-quarter revenue streams, felt in the wake of its bankruptcy-brethren GM and Chrysler, will have been replenished by the fall. The summer shutdowns by the automakers are certainly painful for the time being as the two behemoths account for 90% of AXL’s annual revenue. Hoping for a ridiculous turnaround in circumstances, the investor initiated the purchase of 10,000 calls at the October 5.0 strike price for a premium of 40 cents apiece which were spread against the sale of 10,000 calls at the higher October 7.5 strike for about 15 cents each. The net cost of the transaction amounts to 25 cents and yields maximum potential profits of 2.25. Shares will need to grow with the tenacity of the Hulk in order to rally more than 169% over the next five months. – American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings, Inc. PALM – Put options on the mobile devices company were favored by option investors on the scene today amid a share price decline of 3% to $13.22. One trader targeted the July contract in order to initiate a bearish ratio put spread. The transaction involved the purchase of 2,800 puts at the in-the-money July 14 strike puts for a premium of 2.82 per contract spread against the sale of 5,600 puts at the lower July 10 strike for about 70 cents apiece. The net cost of the pessimistic play on PALM amounts to 1.42 and yields maximum potential profits of 2.58 to the trader if shares decline down to $10.00 by expiration. Profits begin to amass if shares fall another 5% to the breakeven point at $12.58 by expiration next month. Option implied volatility has ramped up significantly over the past couple of days from 93% at the start of Thursday to the current reading of 112% ahead of the release of The Pre tomorrow. – Palm, Inc. POT – We observed an interesting use of out-of-the-money puts by one investor on POT this afternoon. The potash producer’s shares…
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