Traders betting on Bed Bath & Beyond and a small bank stock to play tax reform next week

  • Large options activity in Regions Financial, according to trader Jon Najarian.
  • Options traders are also playing for big moves in Bed Bath & Beyond related to the passage of tax reform.
  • Najarian scored winning trades on Intel and Discovery Communications in the past 2 weeks.

Options traders are making bullish bets on Regions Financial and Bed Bath & Beyond as a way to play tax reform.

Over the past week, investors have bought more than 37,000 calls at the January 20 strike price in Regions Financial, according to Jon Najarian, Najarian Family Office co-founder and "Halftime Report" contributor. These calls expire in just under a month, so it's a bet that Regions' stock will climb through $20 per share by the middle of January.

From Thursday's close of $17.49, shares would need to climb more than 14 percent to hit the 20 strike price over the next month. Najarian sees the passage of the GOP tax package as a potential catalyst to drive the Alabama-based regional bank "into the high teens" by the calls' January expiration.

Traders can use call options to capture potential upside in a stock while committing less capital upfront for the trade, as the price of each options contract is often less than the price of the stock. There is risk though, as an options contract does not equal ownership and can expire worthless.

Shoppers walk past a Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. store in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Shoppers walk past a Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. store in Washington, D.C.

Bed Bath & Beyond is another name that options traders are betting will see a move to the upside as result of tax reform.

More than 10,000 Bed Bath & Beyond call options with a January 22 strike price were purchased on Thursday for between $0.77 and $0.95 per contract.

Najarian spotted the surge in call buying activity one day after the company reported third-quarter earnings after the closing bell on Wednesday. Top and bottom line results topped analyst expectations, but cautious holiday commentary ultimately sent shares lower by 12 percent on the day.

As of Thursday's close, Bed Bath & Beyond shares have fallen more than 47 percent in 2017, but would only need to rise roughly 2 percent in the next month for these calls to produce a profit.

Retailers as a whole could see a large benefit from the GOP tax plan, which lowers the corporate tax rate to 21 percent. According to a report by Credit Suisse, retailers currently have an effective tax rate of over 30 percent - something Najarian sees as an opportunity.

"[Bed Bath & Beyond] said they were still reviewing tax reform just two days ago," Najarian said, "which, after the dip yesterday, makes them more attractive."

In other areas of the market, Jon Najarian scored big with two options trades in shares of Discovery Communications and Intel.

Discovery Communications has been a trade that has worked for Jon Najarian after he noted bullish buying activity in the March 22.50 strike calls last Friday. Since buying the calls, the stock has moved more than 12 percent higher.

Najarian also highlighted bullish activity in Intel at the January 44 strike price on Friday December 22nd. As of the close on Thursday, the stock has risen more than 8 percent since Najarian spotted the activity on the "Halftime Report."