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Option bulls have been flocking to Himax Technologies, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:HIMX) in recent sessions. During the last week at the International Securities Exchange (ISE) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), more than 17,000 HIMX calls have been bought to open, compared to just 534 puts, resulting in a five-day call/put volume ratio of 32.0.
This optimistic bias holds up, even after taking a step back to include two weeks' worth of data, and information from the NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Specifically, the stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio checks in at 22.95, which is just 12 percentage points from a 52-week high. In other words, option traders have picked up HIMX calls over puts at a much faster-than-usual pace recently.
Not surprisingly, Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) for the semiconductor concern registers at 0.26, as call open interest outweighs put open interest by a nearly four-fold margin among options expiring within the next three months. What's more, the SOIR ranks lower than 80% of similar readings from the last year, indicating short-term option bettors have rarely been as call-focused as they have been recently, relatively speaking.
In the front-month series, Himax Technologies' March 16 call is home to significant open interest, with 12,200 contracts in residence. A significant number of these contracts were bought to open in recent months, indicating an expectation for the stock -- currently 2.3% higher at $15.48 -- to break north of $16 by the closing bell next Friday, March 21, when these options expire.
By contrast, analysts are divided on HIMX. While four out of six covering brokerage firms have given the shares a "strong buy" rating (compared to two tepid "holds"), the stock's consensus 12-month price target of $15.29 represents a discount to the current per-share price.
Technically speaking, Himax Technologies, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:HIMX) leaves little to be desired. The shares have exploded during the last year, advancing by more than 260%. Additionally, the stock has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 31.2 percentage points in the past three months. Should this technical trend continue, a round of bullish initiations and/or price-target hikes on Wall Street could push HIMX even higher.