Stock Option Investment Advice

No Free Money with Special Dividend

I am sure that you’ve heard Costco Wholesale (COST) announced a special dividend of $7.00 per share, plus an additional increase of $0.05 to its regular quarterly dividend. The special $7.00 one time cash payment will be paid on May 26th, to those who are on record as owning shares on May 8th, 2017. What do we expect to happen when a special dividend is paid? Well, we expect the COST share price to fall -$7.00 to reflect the $7.00 one time payment. So, is this a Free Money investment if I were to buy an Out of the Money or At-the Money put option? Since the stock is going to fall the put would have to gain in price, correct? Even though I did not receive the dividend, my put would still gain and I would have a nice, juicy, leveraged profit…right? Not quite. In fact, not at all….

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How did my option pricing lose $1.00 when there was little to no change on the stock?

Earlier today I received a call from a PowerOptions subscriber. He is the owner of a far out in time put option on MOMO and the stock was up about $0.35 in the morning (Stock MOMO, at $25.76 from $25.41 at close on FEB 14th). The put option he purchased was the 2017-JULY 30 strike. At close on FEB 14th the bid-ask spread was listed at $6.60 to $7.20 – figure a mid-point price of about $6.90. Note: A wide bid-ask spread is not uncommon for options that are far out in time and not actively traded. When he looked at his brokerage account this morning, it showed a value of $5.90, down -$1.00. But the stock had only moved up +$0.35. The delta of the put option was about -0.60, and increase of $0.35 in the underlying should have dropped the put price by only -$0.24. So, what gives?…