GOOG - Earnings Preview and Pattern

Discussion in 'Options' started by livevol_ophir, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. livevol_ophir

    livevol_ophir ET Sponsor

    GOOG is trading 590.00 (or about there) with earnings today AMC.

    <img src="">

    GOOG habitually has earnings the day of expiration (actually Thursday evening of expo week). This makes their front month options pure earnings vol. A very exciting/dangerous/lucrative opportunity. One other uniqueness about GOOG recently makes it a "must write about" topic.

    For the last three earnings cycles, it has pinned within $0.25 of a strike. That means, hypothetically, if it this continues, all someone has to do is guess the price (in $10 increments) where GOOG is going.

    Here are the last three closing prices the day after earnings:



    Note last time, within $0.01 of a strike. So the question is, where are the options pricing the most likely outcome and how can money be made if you guess right without being naked long or naked short options. GOOG also has gone up to a strike (or near a strike) pre-earnings day and then dropped the $7 or so to hit the lower strike and pin.

    Here's one way: Use butterflies. A buttefly is net even options (#long = #short) so it has a limited upside and downside. A butterfly is used if you have a strong conviction that a stock will stick to a specific price - how convenient for GOOG.

    All the calculations are based on the snap of the Options Tab (and mid-market values) in the article but they're pretty steady:

    In the article you can find the payouts (as of this posting) if you expect GOOG to pin at 580 (bearish), 590 (stay here), 600 (bullish). Click <a href="">Here to Read</a>.

    Note a butterfly is long the wings (upside and downside) then short twice the middle.

    Graphically - the 580-590-600 (buy 1 580 call, sell 2 590 calls, but 1 600 call) looks like below (in article):

    <img src="" width="450">

    You can see the max gain is always at the short strike. I like to think of things in 50 lots, so for this particular one, a 50 lot has a max gain of $45,000 and a max loss of $5,000.

    Of course, GOOG doesn't have to pin - it can go anywhere, and it certainly doesn't have to be 580,590 or 600 (the three butterflies included above). There's no reason it can't move $70 or more. Since the payoff for the 590 butterfly is the highest, that means it's the least likely of the three considered.

    A few cycles ago I tried this (couldn't resist) and got a 10:1 ratio to put it on. I was $10 off though (I had the $440 butterfly on the 7-19-2009 cycle and it closed $430)... Instead of turning $10k in $100k, I turned $10k into $4k. The only reason it didn't all disappear was a bit of day trading to try to recover.

    Finally, you can see the GOOG skew today and how it looked the day after earnings in January (in article).

    <img src="" width="450">

    <img src="" width="450">

    I really mean it on this one: This is trade analysis, not a recommendation! A fair evaluation of this strategy is that it's HIGHLY unlikely to actually pay near max gain - thus the ridiculously high ratios.

    Also, don't let me limit your strategies - this is just one view of an enormous number of ways to play this one day swing. I haven't directly discussed vol - and vol is in play in a major way right now.

    One note of caution, be careful being short more contracts than long in GOOG, it can move $100 or more. Having said that, being short vol is not necessarily a bad move and you can do that being contract neutral pretty easily...

    Details here:
  2. Watch Goog pin to the 560 strike by the close...unless the goldman trading desk is too busy dealing with something else today. :D
  3. livevol_ophir

    livevol_ophir ET Sponsor

    Goldman Sachs:
    The bank with no ATMs and no branches but billions of dollars in federal aid for being one. Oh, and they stole from their customers... again... again...