Big Trader Connects With Microsoft
Is now the time to get into Mister Softee? One big option trader certainly thinks so.
In a huge trade, almost 9,000 Microsoft June 36-strike call options were purchased within minutes of each other on Thursday morning for about $0.27 each. This is a bullish bet that Microsoft shares will rise above the break-even point of $36.27 by June 21. That would be a 4.1 percent rally in three weeks.
So why might we expect Microsoft to make that move?
This trade occurred on the tail of Microsoft releasing its new all-in-one gaming consul, Xbox One. The company already had a thick slice of the console market, and this new product offers more options than its competitors, with multimedia capabilities in addition to gaming. True, the reception of the new Xbox was not particularly astounding to stockholders, indicated by the drop in stock price, but buyers quickly jumped in to get the stock back to previous prices. The Xbox One could still prove to be a game changer.
(Read More: Microsoft Xbox Takes on Apple, Google With Smart TV)
Another reason why holding Microsoft for the month of June might be a good move is because the company will release its fourth-quarter dividend dates in mid-June, probably prior to the expiration of the call options. If the dividend amount is particularly high, this could cause demand for Microsoft stock to increase, and therefore increase the value of the options.
(Read More: Microsoft Shareholder Revolt Ahead?)
On a broader scale, Microsoft is starting to gradually change its business strategy and focus on its profitable segments—enterprise/small business customers and cloud computing—while the PC industry continues to shrink. The enterprise and small/mid-sized business segments actually generate two-thirds of Microsoft's revenue, and is a growing segment that will continue to bring in a large chunk of sales.
According to some analysts, within the next few years, Microsoft will gain dominance in the cloud computing field and draw the focus away from PCs. This is good news for Microsoft stockholders, as the company is taking actions to become a leader in these growing, profitable areas of their business as they redefine their brand away from the struggling PC industry.
Overall, Microsoft will have some solid opportunities to growth in the next few months. A bet on a 4.1 percent bump before June 21 does not seem like an awful guess in lieu of the current position of the company, and for that reason, this options trade seems like an okay move. However, this trade still needs a considerable move, and therefore there is a moderate amount of risk associated with it.
On a longer-term scale, Microsoft is changing its style of business to accommodate the new technological environments: While its smartphone and tablet segments are still struggling, its cloud and small business segments seem to be doing very well. Microsoft's stock had been stagnant for year, but has broken out to the upside in 2013. These calls offer an opportunity to play the new-found upward momentum with only a fraction of the risk of owning the shares.
Disclosures: Stutland is long Microsoft and plans to own the stock for the coming months.