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July 28, 2010
Genzyme: On the Other Hand. . .
In his classic Where Are the Customers' Yachts?, Fred Schwed mentions that the option market can be a good corrective when you're talking yourself into some investment idea. Take a look at it, he says, and you can see how many people are putting their own money down on the proposition that you might be wrong.
Someone's doing just that with the Genzyme takeover speculation, according to the Wall Street Journal. Some trader opened up thousands of option contracts the other day, selling a pile of $75 October call options and opening up a January put spread between 55 and 65. I know that this is gibberish to most people who don't think about this stuff all the time, but what it means is that whoever this is doesn't think that Genzyme is going to make 75 by the end of October (or wants to be protected against the possibility that it won't), and will start to really clean up if the stock starts moving down below 55 again sometime before the end of January.
The options market is a zero-sum game (as opposed to stocks), so whoever this trader is has sold these option contracts to people who think otherwise about Genzyme's probable moves, or to some market maker who's willing to assume the risk for the given price. For any option transaction, eventually someone will be completely right, and the other guy will be completely wrong. We'll see. . .
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