Northern Trust saw upside option activity yesterday after the U.K.'s Daily Mail reported that the asset management and banking firm might be a takeover target.
The newspaper said HSBC Holding was a possible suitor and floated the price of $65 a share in cash. That's a pretty penny compared with Northern Trust's $50.57 closing price yesterday and the $48.02 price where it ended the previous session.
Most of the early option paper appeared to be retail, but institutional-sized trades picked up as the day progressed. The November 60 calls drew the heaviest action, with large blocks going for $0.15 to $0.25, according to OptionMonster's real-time tracking systems. The November 55s were more popular in smaller lots, mostly in the range of 20 to 50 contracts and priced for about $0.65.
The November 50s also traded 3,375 times, mostly for $1.85 to $2.10. Almost 25,000 contacts changed hands yesterday, compared with the typical number around 1,100 a day. Of those, calls totaled about 19,000.
Like most financials, Nothern Trust has been struggling of late and dropped hard after reporting weak earnings on Oct. 21.
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