U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index higher for a fourth day, as reports on jobless claims and factory orders were better than forecast and the European Central Bank said it stands ready to buy bonds.
The benchmark index for U.S. stock options jumped to the highest since February and Europe’s gauge closed at a level last reached in July on concern the Greek debt crisis is spreading to Spain and Portugal.
Options traders betting on Safeway Inc. are growing more convinced the cheapest grocery-store chain in America will be acquired, threatening short sellers that have pushed bearish wagers to an all-time high.
The fastest-growing bet on BP Plc in the U.S. stock-options market shows traders expect a 63 percent plunge in about a month as costs surge for its uncontrolled well spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Nabors Industries Ltd. has gotten so cheap that traders in the options market are betting the world’s largest land-drilling contractor may be a takeover candidate after the departure of its 81-year-old chief executive officer.