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At the start of the third quarter, three of the top market movers are semiconductor maker Cree, Inc. (NASDAQ:CREE), oil-and-gas issue Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), and 3-D printing specialist Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS). Here's a quick roundup of how this trio of names is performing on the charts so far.
CREE is enjoying its second straight session in the green, up 2.9% to trade at $51.41, amid news that sector peer Royal Philips (PHIA) NV is merging its Lumileds LED component unit with its automotive lighting business to create a standalone company. Nevertheless, Cree, Inc. is still situated 17.8% below its year-to-date flat line, which has inspired a heap of short-selling activity. Right now, 10% of the equity's float is sold short, and it would take more than nine sessions to cover these bearish bets, at the shares' average daily volume. In the options pits, meanwhile, CREE sports a 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 6.27, which ranks in the top 10% of its 12-month range. In other words, the stock's calls have been bought to open over puts at a near-annual-high clip during the past two weeks, and some of this long call activity may have come at the hands of short sellers hedging against a potential upswing, like the one the shares are seeing this week.
CHK shares dropped 6.5% today to trade at $29.08, on news that Seventy Seven Energy Inc. (NYSE:SSE) has completed its spinoff from Chesapeake Energy Corporation, and is now a separate, publicly traded oilfield services business. Looking back over the past 10 trading days, CHK has racked up an ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 10.31, which ranks only 3 percentage points from an annual peak. Simply stated, the equity's long calls are being scooped up over puts at one of the fastest rates of the past 12 months.
With SSYS trending 6.7% higher at $121.22 this afternoon, speculators are exchanging calls at roughly six times the average intraday rate, and the weekly 7/3 and July-dated strikes are being targeted the most. Stepping back, SSYS option traders have picked up bullish bets over bearish at an accelerated for the past two weeks, per the equity's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 3.36, which sits in the 92nd annual percentile. Meanwhile, short interest on Stratasys, Ltd. climbed 39.1% over the last two reporting periods -- and now accounts for 15.3% of the equity's available float -- even though the shares have bounced 32% over the last month. Therefore, it is possible that some of the recent option bulls are actually short sellers in disguise, hedging against more upside.