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'Nasdaq whale' closes more large options trades

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A large options player which some market watchers call the "Nasdaq whale" unwound bets on several technology-related companies on Friday after the sector's recent selloff.

[NEW YORK] A large options player which some market watchers call the "Nasdaq whale" unwound bets on several technology-related companies on Friday after the sector's recent selloff.

The investor closed a position in a bullish call options spread on Adobe at a loss of roughly US$200,000. The spread represented around US$935 million of notional value.

The call spread was originally bought on Aug 5 among a group of trades that some market analysts have attributed to SoftBank Group.

Adobe shares ended 1.4 per cent lower at US$467.55 as US stocks fell broadly.

The investor sold stock at the time of the call spread purchase, then bought back the shares after selling the options, at a loss of roughly US$9 a share.

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Because the options trades were tied to stock, they had minimal impact on market activity, unlike the selloff earlier this month, said Christopher Murphy, co-head of derivatives strategy at Susquehanna Financial Group.

The trade marks the first closure among the call spreads believed to be tied to SoftBank, and it could prompt speculation on whether it is "just a one-off or the beginning of a trend", Mr Murphy said.

Last week, an investor exited large options positions in names such as Facebook, Netflix and Salesforce.com, though those positions had different structures from the call spreads tied to SoftBank.

Also on Friday, an investor closed large call options positions in Alphabet and Amazon.com, noted Amy Wu Silverman, equity derivatives strategist at RBC Capital Markets.

Alphabet shares fell 2.4 per cent and Amazon shares dipped 1.8 per cent, both underperforming the S&P 500 index, which declined 1.1 per cent.

"These 'whale' tech unwinds continue to influence sentiment and put pressure on the FANG names," Ms Wu Silverman wrote in an e-mail, referring to the group of leading tech-related stocks including Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet.

REUTERS

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