Gold might be breaking down technically, but you wouldn't guess it looking at the options activity in gold-related stocks yesterday.
OptionMonster's tracking systemsdetected several bullish trades on names in the sector. In the largest, an investor bought 15,000 September 113 calls on the SPDR Gold Trustfor $3.45 and sold an equal number of September 113 puts for $2.95.
The transaction, known as a synthetic long, will mimic ownership in the fund, which tracks gold prices. Because it only cost $0.50 to implement, the position will deliver significant leverage to the upside or downside. For instance, if the gold exchange-traded fund closes at $118 on Sept. 17, the investor will earn about 900 percent.
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The fund dropped 1.74 percent to $113.51 yesterday and closed below its 100-day moving average for the first time since March. Some chart watchers may expect gold to push lower now that it has failed to maintain its uptrend after making an only slightly higher high in June than it did in May and December.
Call buyers also snapped upside contracts in Eldorado Gold , betting on a move into October expiration. The calls, which give holders a right to buy the stock for $17.50, fetched $0.60. The stock fell 3.24 percent to $15.54 and is down 15 percent in the last month.
In a third trade, our systems showed the purchase of 5,000 January 2012 10 calls on Gold Fields for $3.85, and the sale of a matching number of January 2012 15 calls for $1.40. The strategy, known as a bullish call spread, cost $2.45 to implement and will earn a maximum profit of 104 percent if the stock closes at or above $15 on expiration. The stock fell 1.07 percent to $12.93.
Gold rallied between April and June as investors worried about the Greek sovereign debt crisis. But news has been turning more positive on Europe in recent weeks, and the euro has rallied back from its lows.
Given the apparent negative shift in bullion recently, yesterday's option trades may have been implemented by bears looking to hedge short exposure to the sector. Regardless, it's worth noting such a divergence between what the charts and the options are telling us.
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No information was available for Russell or his firm.
David Russell is a reporter and writer for OptionMonster.