Facebook Inc (FB): Options For Hedging A Long Bet

Facebook Inc (FB): Options For Hedging A Long Bet

Although Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is Susquehanna International Group analyst Brian Nowak’s favorite investable theme for 2014, investors still may want to hedge their bets on the social network’s stock. As a result, the firm has taken a look at how they can do that. Specifically, analysts say that there’s a very low skew in Facebook options right now, and investors could use that to their advantage.

Facebook skews slightly to calls

They note that with most equities, ETFs and Index products, options trade with a negative, or put, skew. This means that downside puts are usually priced at a premium when compared with corresponding upside calls. They said most of this tendency is driven by the dynamics of supply and demand because demand for downside puts is basically insurance for investors who have gone long on a stock.

However, the SIG team reports that with Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) right now, the skew is pretty low and even slightly over to the call side. They said this is because there’s demand for upside calls by investors without a position in Facebook who would like to have upside exposure to the social network’s stock.

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They also report that currently, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is the seventh lowest of any stock in the NASDAQ 100 (“as measured by the normalized volatility spread between the .25d put and call”). And in addition to being absolutely low, they said Facebook is relatively low as well, trading in the twelfth percentile in comparison with the last two years of records. Here’s a look at Facebook’s 90-day skew:

How investors can hedge on Facebook

The analysts say long shareholders can use this interesting dynamic right now by selling upside calls in order to finance the purchase of downside puts. For example, they said holders of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock who would exit the company at $74 over the next six months could sell the June 75 calls and use the money to buy June 46 puts. They estimate that at Friday’s closing share price, it could be bought for about 4 cents credit.

They also note the impact which is the result of the very slight call skew, as the $12 “out-of-the-money puts” are trading just under the $17 “out-of-the-money calls.”

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