Bullish speculation is ramping up lately on casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS - 45.20), semiconductor stock OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:OVTI - 15.47), and coffee chain Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX - 51.47), according to volume data from the major options exchanges. In recent sessions, traders have shown a growing preference for calls over puts on LVS, OVTI, and SBUX. Here's a closer look at the latest trends in the options pits for these three hot stocks.
First up, traders on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) bought to open 5,044 calls on LVS on Thursday, representing 2.49 times the number of puts purchased.
From a broader view, the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio across all three exchanges stands at 3.02, which registers in the 91st percentile of its annual range. In other words, speculators have picked up calls over puts at a faster clip only 9% of the time during the past year.
Since bottoming out at $34.72 back in late July, LVS has stair-stepped higher along the newfound support of its 10-day and 20-day moving averages. However, the shares are still trading below resistance from their 40-week moving average and the round-number $50 level, which could create some turbulence for LVS going forward.
Meanwhile, tech stock OVTI saw 2,129 calls bought to open yesterday on the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX. By contrast, only 30 puts were purchased on these three exchanges. Now, the equity's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio weighs in at 21.46, in the 94th annual percentile. This elevated reading suggests that speculators have rarely shown a greater preference for bullish bets over bearish on OVTI.
The shares have gained a healthy 27.7% so far in 2012, but OVTI has pulled back since testing the $17 area earlier this week. In fact, the stock has lost about 1% at last look, despite an early upgrade to "outperform" at Oppenheimer. In today's trading, speculators are adding new contracts at the soon-to-be front-month October 18 strike, where roughly 4,200 calls have traded on open interest of just 3,517.
Finally, SBUX speculators also adopted a bullish slant on Thursday. By the close, options traders on the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX had bought to open 5,594 calls on the stock, along with just 1,141 puts. The coffee giant now sports a 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 2.28, which outranks 74% of other such readings taken over the past year -- pointing to a stronger-than-usual optimistic attitude among this group.
Traders on Thursday may have been encouraged by the launch of SBUX's single-cup brewing system, Verismo -- or by CEO Howard Schultz's reassurance that the company is "seeing the beginning of traction" in the European market. The shares have gained 32.6% over the past 52 weeks, and SBUX is currently on pace to collect a weekly advance of 2%.
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