Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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Momentum names that made notable moves on Wednesday and could continue to do so into Thursday's session include gold miner Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX), rental car service Avis Budget Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CAR), and footwear retailer Skechers USA Inc (NYSE:SKX). Here is a quick look at these stocks ahead of tomorrow's opening bell.

Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX)

Gold stocks shot higher today, as investors appreciated their safe-haven status ahead of Friday's nonfarm payrolls report. Among the top gainers was Barrick Gold, which spiked 4.1% to close at $18.62, boosting options players' confidence in the stock. To be specific, ABX calls traded at a 63% mark-up to average daily levels, outnumbering puts by a more than 3-to-1 margin. A significant amount of traders targeted weekly and short-term calls, with these options accounting for eight of the 10 most active ABX strikes of the day. Today's lopsided call action was just more of the same for Barrick Gold. The equity's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 3.84 ranks in the 99th annual percentile, demonstrating ABX calls have been bought to open over puts at a near-annual-high pace during the past 10 weeks.

Avis Budget Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CAR)

Avis scored a new decade-plus high of $51.47 today, and closed the session with a 3.3% gain at $51.50. As such, the stock is now positioned 27.2% higher on a year-to-date basis. In CAR's options pits, call volume exceeded the average daily amount by more than three times, and outpaced the number of puts exchanged by a margin of about 3-to-1. Of course, some of this call activity could be the work of short sellers picking up options-related insurance against additional upside. Short interest on CAR climbed 31% over the last two reporting periods, and now makes up more than one-fourth of the equity's float.

Skechers USA Inc (NYSE:SKX)

Skechers finished today's session 1.9% higher at $37.11, after earlier bouncing to a three-year peak of $37.83. Now, the shares are standing a whopping 23.8% atop their Feb. 12 pre-earnings closing price of $29.98. Meanwhile, in SKX's options pits today, overall volume nearly quadrupled the expected daily amount, with calls outnumbering puts by a margin of 6-to-1. Stepping back, SKX has racked up an impressive 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 91.50, which ranks in the 98th annual percentile. In other words, more than 91 calls have been bought to open for every put during the past two weeks -- which is a near-annual-high rate.

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