With GM backing off four month highs one option trader is getting bullish on GM but is using a time spread as a cautious way to play the upside. The trader bought 13,300 January ’13 20 calls and sold an equal number of Jan. ’14 calls for a net credit of $1.30. The trader gets to keep this premium if GM stays above 18.70 through Jan. ’13. This position is similar to being short the Jan. ’13 20 put but instead of being short volatility, this trade benefits if volatility rises into Jan. ’13 and implied volatility in Jan. ’14 remains unchanged.
Unrest in China has forced the closure of several Japanese auto manufacture’s plants which is causing major disruptions throughout their supply chain. GM’s supply chain remains unaffected and could potentially see this situation translate into relatively higher margins and sales. The time spread traded today stands to profit from this scenario and will return 4% annualized if GM remains above 20. However, since this is a hedged trade the margin costs will be low providing the opportunity to use leverage for greater returns at the cost of greater risk.