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Traders Beef Up On Herbalife Options As Shares Extend Losses

Posted on the 20 December 2012 by Phil's Stock World @philstockworld

Today’s tickers: HLF, ILMN & WSM

HLF - Herbalife, Ltd. – Options on Herbalife continue to change hands at a clip on Thursday, one day after Pershing Square Capital Management founder, Bill Ackman, announced a short position in the stock that sent shares in the marketer of weight management products down as much as 15% during trading on Wednesday. The stock extended losses today, sliding 8% in the early going to $34.33, the lowest level since February 2011. Upwards of 71,000 put and call options have changed hands on Herbalife as of 12:55 p.m. ET, with around 1.5 puts changing hands on the stock for each single call option in play. Some traders appear to be positioning for shares in the name to hit lower lows by the end of this week, while others establish contrarian bets on the name that benefit from a pop in the price of the underlying during the next 24 hours. Bears anticipating a sharp drop in shares of Herbalife in the very near term appear to be buying out-of-the-money puts across several strike prices in the December expiry. Meanwhile, call buying at the Dec. $35, $37.5 and $40 strikes looks for the stock to rebound substantially by expiration.

ILMN - Illumina, Inc. – Shares in biotechnology company, Illumina, Inc., jumped 9.25% this morning to a new 52-week high of $57.00 on unconfirmed reports that Swiss drug maker, Roche Holding AG, may be in talks to purchase Illumina at a substantially sweetened price of $66.00 a share or $8.1 billion. San Diego, California-based Illumina’s shares have rallied more than 80% since the start of the year on speculation the provider of DNA sequencing technology may be acquired. Options volume on Illumina is up sharply on the session, with some 14,000 contracts in play on the stock as of midday in New York, versus average daily options volume of around 2,200 lots. A number of strategists appear to be buying upside calls on the takeover chatter, snapping up in- and out-of-the-money calls in the December and January expiries. The Dec. $55 and…


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