Stocks quoted in this article:
Among the stocks attracting attention from options traders lately are Internet portal Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), software specialist Splunk Inc (NASDAQ:SPLK), and sports apparel issue Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA). Below, we'll break down how options buyers are positioning themselves, and how much speculators are willing to pay for their bets on YHOO, SPLK, and UA.
- With YHOO fresh off a newly tagged seven-year high of $36.85, it's no surprise to find that calls are the options of choice. During the past 50 days, speculators on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open 4.49 calls for every put on Yahoo! Inc., with bullish bets more than quadrupling their bearish counterparts. This ratio arrives in the 94th annual percentile, which means speculators have rarely shown a greater preference for YHOO calls over puts. Near-term bets on the tech issue are attractively priced right now, with Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 29% ranking below 72% of others taken during the previous 52 weeks. On the charts, YHOO is docked at $36.29, up more than 82% in 2013.
- Also in new-high territory is SPLK, which topped out at a personal best of $74.97 today before settling at $71.03. Though the shares are up nearly 145% year-to-date, options players have been leaning toward puts over calls lately. The 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio for Splunk Inc stands at 0.69, in the skeptically slanted 70th percentile of its annual range. With the company's third-quarter report out of the way, now is a reasonable time to buy premium on SPLK -- the stock's SVI of 40% registers lower than 73% of comparable annual readings. In other words, short-term calls and puts have been cheaper, from a volatility perspective, only 27% of the time during the last year.
- Finally, UA has been targeted by call buyers. The security's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 3.22 ranks higher than 84% of other such readings during the past 12 months, as speculators have rarely favored calls over puts by a wider margin. Meanwhile, short-term bets on Under Armour Inc have rarely been cheaper, judging by the SVI of 26% -- which is just four percentage points away from a 52-week low. UA shares closed Monday at $80.31, up more than 65% for the calendar year.