Bullish bet on large U.S. nat gas producer has analysts wondering

Chesapeake draws large bull call spread

A bullish energy option trader just paid 40¢ to buy a 33,000-lot call spread expiring in October, and appears to be gearing up for a 20% surge in the share price of Chesapeake Energy Corp.(NYSE:CHK-D) in that time period. Shares are almost 1% higher on the day at $29.30. The trader bought 33,000 call options at the Oct 35.0 strike at 49¢ and sold the same amount of higher strike 40.0 calls at 9¢. The trade has a net cost of 40¢ implying a breakeven at expiration of $35.40 for shares of Chesapeake.

The option play appears to be without any share component at this point and looks set to benefit from a directional view according to the trader’s outlook. The trade, net of commission, costs the investor $1.32 million to place and has a maximum potential gain of $15.18 million should shares reach the upper strike some 36% above today’s trading price by expiration. Given the magnitude of Thursday’s option’s play, dealers have bumped up the uncertainty surrounding the stock’s potential future movements with implied volatility surging by 10.23% to 47.5%. Overall options volume of 96,200 contracts on the day compares to overall open interest before today of 422,000 lots.

Chart – Chesapeake higher as news of bullish option play circulates    


About the Author
Andrew Wilkinson

Andrew is a seasoned trader and commentator of global financial markets. He worked for several London-based banks trading cash and derivatives before moving to the U.S. to attend graduate school. Andrew re-joins Interactive Brokers following a two-year stretch at a major Wall Street broker-dealer as their Chief Economic Strategist. His coverage of stocks, options, futures, forex and bonds regularly surfaces in global media, and over the last several years Andrew has made many TV appearances on Bloomberg, BBC, CNBC and BNN and Yahoo Finance.

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