Just before 1 p.m. on June 9, 5,700 options tied to Clorox Co. were bought on U.S. markets for about $170,000. Traders snapped up the underlying stock and within half an hour, more than $450 million had been added to the bleachmaker’s shares.
Trading of U.S. stock options soared to the second-highest level in nearly four decades of history yesterday, boosted by investors using the contracts to capture dividends paid by the biggest exchange-traded funds.
Options traders are the most bearish on Kraft Foods Inc. in three years and some of the largest shareholders are selling stock as the foodmaker faces surging commodities costs and the integration of Cadbury Plc.
Barclays Plc call-options volume jumped to the highest since February in the U.S. as investors bet that the second-largest U.K. bank by assets will rebound from a two-year low as European lenders prepare to release stress-test results July 15.