Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Loss of Face in the Options Market

An Internet social sensation
Went to market with high expectation;
Before many fortnights,
The traders had bought rights
To sell it (without obligation).

The Wall Street Journal's options reporter Kaitlyn Kiernan writes that the put-call ratio on shares of Facebook turned decidedly bearish on the first day of options trading after the company's controversial IPO. Options traders bought 20.3 millions puts (the right, but not the obligation, to sell shares at a fixed "strike" price) but only 16.2 million calls (the right, but not the obligation, to buy shares at the strike price). The preponderance of puts indicates the prevailing sentiment that the price of $FB shares will continue to fall. The stock market took note, and Facebook shares slid another 9.6% to $28.84, a 24% drop from the initial public offer price of $38.

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