Near-term put players have been increasing their exposure to The Home Depot, Inc. (HD - 51.79), as evidenced by the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR). Put open interest on options set to expire within three months has edged up 4% since the start of this expiration cycle, and HD's SOIR now sits at 1.73. This ratio ranks in the 96th percentile of its annual range, implying that short-term speculators are more put-heavy now than usual toward the stock.
Options players' growing appetite for HD puts is echoed by data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). The equity's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 0.85 ranks higher than 72% of similar reading taken in the past year. In other words, bearish bets have been scooped up over bullish at accelerated levels in recent months.
When taking HD's technical background into consideration, this recent preference for puts is a little perplexing. For starters, the stock has tacked on a lofty 37.7% during the previous 12 months. In fact, HD has added a formidable 21.9% on a year-to-date basis. This impressive rise been highlighted by the security's 20-day moving average, and HD tagged a 10-year high of $52.15 on April 17.
In light of HD's strong technical showing, the apparently bearish bias in the options arena may simply be the result of shareholders picking up puts to hedge against a potential pullback, or to lock in paper profits. As it turns out, this pessimism seems limited to options traders, with short sellers reducing their exposure by 9% over the last two reporting periods. Short interest now accounts for a low 1.3% of the stock's available float.
HD is continuing its trek higher in today's session, with the equity up more than 1% at last check.
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