Despite distress, RIM call options still hot

The Globe and Mail

When it first came out a year ago, there were only a handful of functioning apps for the PlayBook on RIM’s app store. Today, there are about 15,000 PlayBook-specific apps (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press/Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

You would think that with all of the negative news coming out of Research in Motion, put options that benefit from a sinking stock price would be in heavy demand, much like they are for Facebook.

But it turns out that the options market for RIM isn’t so one-sided. In fact, it’s pretty evenly split. Of the top ten most sought after contracts, six are puts and four are calls, according to Bloomberg.

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How can that be? Although many people believe that the stock will plummet if the company’s operating cash flow continues to weaken, there are also a hefty number of investors who think the glass is half full.

This lot, according to market makers, believes there is a decent chance of a takeover because RIM has a solid cash balance – $1.5-billion last quarter – and has the rights to some important patents. These investors also assume that the bad news can’t get much worse, so there’s only upside potential.

As straightforward as that may seem, this bullishness has caught most people off guard. Market makers expected volumes to be as heavy as they currently are, but they didn’t expect to see buying behind both the bull and bear cases.

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