Oil Pushes $60 on Inventory Decline, Gulf Storm

Short-term uncertainties rise for oil. While stock prices moved towards all-time highs on Wednesday, oil prices rose by over two percent on two separate but important events. First, U.S. inventories of oil fell more than expected, by 8.41 million barrels against an expectation of a decline of 3.1 million barrels. This has been the second unexpectedly large drop in recent weeks, and a sign that the summer driving season for oil inventories, which typically starts earlier, is finally underway. Secondly, a tropical storm forming in the Gulf of Mexico is leading to the evacuation of G...
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Insider Activity: vTv Therapeutics (VTVT)

Activist investor adds $2 million to existing stake. On Tuesday, activist investor Ron Perelman revealed the additional purchase of 1.2 million shares in a company he already owns more than 10 percent of, vTv Therapeutics (VTVT). Perelman now owns over 20.2 million shares of the company. The shares were purchased at an average price of $1.65, but shares currently trade around $1.45, so anyone looking to piggyback on the billionaire investor can get a bargain here. The company may not be for all investors, however. With only an $80 million market cap, shares will be volatile. And v...
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Insider Activity: Safehold Inc. (SAFE)

Majority owner and manager adds to stake. On Monday, iStar, the majority owner of Safehold (SAFE), added to their stake. As the majority owner of the company already, and the manager of Safehold, the move is an indication that shares of the company remain undervalued. iStar picked up an additional 15,000 shares, representing a cost of about $468,000. This buy leaves iStar with over 20.6 million shares of Safehold. The buys occurred with shares at a 52-week high, another unusual sign but another vote of confidence in shares heading even higher. Safehold is a unique company. It p...
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Stocks Await New Fed Comments

Change in stance likely after solid economic data. Stocks have been moving slightly and on low volume so far this week as traders awaited a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday at the Boston Fed. Following strong job data last week, with over 244,000 jobs created against expectations of 160,000, the Fed is expected to move from “acting as appropriate” to “patient” regarding changes in interest rates. While a slight change in wording may not sound like much, traders make bets in part on interest rates and expectations of where interest rates will go. If econo...
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Cisco Acquires Supplier Acacia for $2.6 Billion

Supplier merger creates arbitrage opportunity. Router company Cisco (CSCO), one of the key manufactures of equipment needed to access the Internet and otherwise transfer data, is acquiring one of its suppliers, Acacia Communications (ACIA). The deal was announced at $70 per share on Acacia, or about $2.6 billion overall. Acacia creates optical interconnect technologies that allow for speedy, high-bandwidth transfers of data. Cisco has been building out its optical interconnect module business for some time, to take advantage of growth in the cloud storage and other space. With a g...
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Unusual Options Activity: Hess Corporation (HES)

Big bet on massive rally in energy company. While the summer is typically a slow season for stocks, one trader is betting on a big move in shares of Hess (HES). With shares currently around $61, there’s been a surge in trading on the January 2020 $80 calls, indicating a 30 percent upside in shares between now and January. Over 16,000 of those contracts traded on Tuesday, about a 20-fold increase in volume for prior trading. Hess is an explorer and producer of oil and natural gas, with over 1,192 million barrels of oil equivalent in reserves. Action to take: With energy prices l...
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Insider Activity: Carnival Corp (CCL)

Director buys over $900,000 in shares. Insiders have been a bit more active in the leisure space lately. Besides some of the insider buys we’ve seen in the casino industry, we’re now seeing insiders buy in the leisure travel space. On Wednesday July 3rd, director Randall Weisenburger bought 20,000 shares of the company he sits on the board of, Carnival Corp (CCL). This is a 20 percent increase in his stake, and he paid about $930,000 to make the deal. Weisinburger’s buy comes after a buy from President and CEO Arnold Donald in June, who bought just over 22,000 shares and paid abou...
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Rosenblatt Cuts Apple Shares to Sell

Investment firm sees 25 percent downside in tech giant’s shares. Investment firm Rosenblatt has cut shares of Apple to sell from neutral. The company cited “fundamental deterioration” of the underlying business over the next 6-12 months as the culprit. Looking at the specific product lines, expectations are for disappointing sales in iPhones and iPad growth. New products like the Apple Watch and AirPods are too small relative to the company to impact revenue growth. Shares of Apple dropped about 2.6 percent on the day, to around $200 per share. The $150 price target that Rosenblat...
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Unusual Options Activity: Apple (AAPL)

Big bearish bet on tech giant in the next month. Shares of Apple (AAPL) sold off Monday on a major downgrade, citing the company’s “fundamental deterioration.” Naturally, some traders saw that as an opportunity to sell shares—at least in the short-term. That explains the 100-fold increase in volume on the August 2nd $185 puts on the company. With shares of Apple trading just under $200, this is a bet on about a 7.5 percent decline between now and expiration in 25 days. Apple is a widely held company, due to its size and success. And while the company has pushed to improve its suit...
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Unusual Options Activity: Snapchat (SNAP)

Big bet on social media company rallying in the next month. Shares of social media companies have underperformed the broad market. Between a slowdown in user growth and privacy concerns, they don’t look like the most attractive investment. Yet shares of these companies are off their recent lows—and at least one trader is betting on a big move higher. Last Friday saw a surge in volume on the July 26th $19 call options on Snapchat (SNAP). With shares trading around $15, that’s a bet on shares rallying another $4 from here, or about another 26 percent. That’s a large percentage mo...
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