Maruti’s Put Costs Fall to One-Month Low Before Earnings

The cost of options to protect against a drop in Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.’s shares fell to a one-month low amid optimism the nation’s biggest carmaker’s quarterly results won’t disappoint next week.

Three-month puts with a strike price 5 percent below Maruti’s shares cost 2.6 points less than calls priced 5 percent above them at 3:56 p.m in Mumbai. The spread, known as skew, is the lowest since Dec. 16. Put options were on average 0.5 points more expensive than calls over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The negative spread reflects higher predictability of Maruti’s results versus its peers. Net income at the company, a unit of Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp., is expected to grow 31 percent to 8.93 billion rupees ($145 million) in the December quarter, according to the median of 36 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. The results are due on Jan. 27. Indian markets are closed on Jan. 26 for a public holiday.

“Traders are getting comfortable before Maruti earnings as they expect a strong showing,” Rajendra Wadher, director at PRB Securities Ltd., said in a phone interview from Mumbai. “We are advising clients to buy call options.”

Maruti’s quarterly earnings have on average been 2.5 percent better than analyst estimates, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That compares with a positive surprise of 5.7 percent for Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and 26 percent for Tata Motors Ltd., two of its biggest competitors.

The company’s shares have risen 8.3 percent this month, on top of an 89 percent surge in 2014, when they were the second-best performer on the 30-stock Sensex. The shares climbed 0.3 percent to 3,606.70 rupees at the close today, compared with a 0.9 percent increase for the Sensex that took the benchmark gauge to record high.

The India VIX, a gauge of protection against stock market swings using options, fell 3.7 percent to 17.89 today. The 50-stock S&P CNX Nifty index rose 0.9 percent to an all-time high.

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