Salesforce.com reports earnings after the bell on Wednesday, and some traders are betting the stock will rise, well, to the clouds.
On Tuesday, options on the cloud-computing giant were implying the stock will move 10 percent after earnings are released. That's slightly higher than the 7 percent average post-earnings move in either direction over the past four quarters.
One trade that stood out was the purchase of 3,000 80-strike calls expiring in June for $1.70 each. As each contact controls 100 shares, the trader is betting $510,000 that Salesforce.com will trade above $81.70 or 14 percent higher in the next month. A call is a bullish wager giving the purchaser the right to buy a stock at a set price within a given time frame.
According to options expert Dan Nathan, co-founder of RiskReversal.com, the trader was possibly getting out of a short position in the calls while long the stock.
"Maybe they just don't want to cap their upside," speculated Nathan.
Salesforce.com has been the subject of takeover rumors for the past few weeks. In late April, it was reported the company was working with advisors to deal with bids on the company. Trading halted briefly on May 5 after a report that Microsoft was considering acquiring the company. Oracle has also been cited as a possible acquirer. However, no deal has been announced.
"The rumor would be a $55 billion or $60 billion deal," said Nathan. "That would place it well above recent highs, probably between $80 and $90" per share.
Shares of Salesforce.com were already up 14 percent from the start of the year until the late April before chatter began about the company being acquired. It has since gained 4 percent more. The stock has nearly doubled in the past three years.