Options Boil on MBIA Shares

A large trader apparently believes that MBIA is headed higher after the bond insurer's earnings beat forecasts.

OptionMonster's tracking systems detected the purchase of 18,000 January 10 calls for $0.55 and the sale of 10,000 January 5 puts for $0.90. The trade resulted in a total cost of $90,000 before fees and commissions, or just $0.05 per call contract purchased. Volume exceeded open interest in both strikes.

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It was the largest transaction on an individual stock to cross our screens Friday as of this writing.

The so-called risk-reversal strategy is an unhedged one-way bet on MBI shares moving higher. The trade would profit if the stock closes above $10.05 by expiration and would generate losses below $5. The investor apparently bought and sold different numbers of puts and calls to minimize the cash expense of the position.

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MBI stock is down 2.1 percent in midday trading. The shares are up 43 percent this month as investors hunt for value among beaten-down stocks that would benefit from improved credit conditions. MBI's earnings report Wednesday evening provided some fuel to that thesis when it posted an estimated $1.1 billion of recoveries on some mortgages.

Overall options volume in MBI is four times average today.



David Russell is a reporter and writer for OptionMonster.