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Bears Pounce as OmniVision Technologies Pulls Back

OVTI's technical troubles has pushed near-term put open interest to peak levels

by 4/24/2012 2:45:27 PM
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OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (OVTI - 17.68) began 2012 with a bang, and the stock is currently boasting a 48.8% year-to-date gain. Plus, over the course of the last 60 trading sessions, OVTI has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 21 percentage points, on a relative-strength basis. More recently, however, the security has struggled in step with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP). In fact, OVTI finished Friday's session below its 30-day moving average -- a trendline not breached on a daily closing basis since Jan. 17. The equity has continued its descent this week, and was down roughly 3% at last check.

Daily Chart of OVTI since December 2011 with 30-Day Moving Average

Given OVTI's ongoing weakness in today's session, speculators have made puts their preferred option. In fact, around 2,950 put contracts have crossed the tape, compared to fewer than 950 call contracts.

However, today's trend toward OVTI puts is continued behavior for options players. The stock's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.95 ranks higher than 89% of similar readings taken over the last year. In other words, bearish bets have been scooped up over bullish at accelerated levels in recent weeks.

This pessimistic skew is even more evident when looking at the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR). For starters, OVTI's SOIR of 2.05 shows that put open interest more than doubles call open interest among options slated to expire within the next three months. What's more, this ratio ranks higher than any other such annual reading, suggesting that short-term speculators are more put-heavy now than at any other time in the past 52 weeks.

Unfortunately for OVTI, the gloom and doom has not strictly relegated itself to the options arena. Short sellers have increased their bearish exposure on the stock by 28.1% during the last two reporting periods, and short interest now accounts for an impressive 11.5% of the equity's float. Should the security continue to struggle on the charts, additional bears may be encouraged to climb on board, further exacerbating OVTI's recent slide.

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