Merger Rumors & Chatter Drives Options (BG, MON, NWS, MWW, NUE, SCHN, CL, AMTD, ETFC)

Posted in Options 
November 18th, 2009

Originally submitted at 2:00 PM EST…. Despite the markets trading a bit lower today there was a lot of call activity today based on takeover chatter in various sectors, as the bullish move in the markets coupled with a budding M&A market have speculators active.  Early morning action was in Bunge (NYSE: BG), with Monsanto (NYSE: MON) rumored to be offering a $75 price tag, and 24,000 calls traded, a lot of new opening buyers with 50% of the action offer side, with the large players buying the out of the money January $70 calls in size.

Then a rumor that News Corp (NYSE: NWS) is looking to takeout Monster Worldwide (NYSE: MWW) at $23.50 per share hit, and today 43,800 calls have traded, 52% offer side buys with 100+ lots of November and December $15 calls being bought, 22X average call volume.

A rumor that Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) has a $60 offer for Schnitzer Steel (NASDAQ: SCHN) never really gained any traction.  Riverbed Technology (NASDAQ: RVBD)  was also back in the M&A chatter as 9,700 calls traded, half the action offer side, with buyers in December $22.50 calls.

The most explosive action came late in the day as Colgate (NYSE: CL) shares spiked 4% higher and IV jumped 56% as a UK newspaper mentioned that a merger with Reckitt may be close.  37,500 calls traded with 57% offer side, also seeing some sizable chunks of November $85/$90 calls and December $85/$90 calls being bought in strength.

Later in the day came wod that Ameritrade (NASDAQ: AMTD) might be looking to buy E*TRADE Financial (NASDAQ: ETFC) also began to hit trading floors and call action jumped…. at least for a sub-$2.00 stock.

JOE KUNKLE, OptionsHawk.com

NOVEMBER 17, 2009

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