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OmniVision Bulls Bet On a Post-Earnings Bounce

Options traders are buying OVTI calls at an accelerated clip

by 5/30/2012 10:15:20 AM
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Bullish bets are picking up steam ahead of earnings from OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (OVTI - 15.13), as evidenced by the latest data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). During the past couple of weeks, speculators have bought to open more than five OVTI calls for every put, resulting in a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 5.49. Even more telling, perhaps, this ratio registers in the 86th percentile of its annual range, pointing to a healthier-than-usual appetite for long calls over puts.

Echoing that trend, OVTI saw nearly 9,800 calls change hands on Tuesday -- about three times the norm. For comparison, fewer than 2,400 OVTI puts crossed the tape during the course of the session.

Digging deeper, it appears speculators were buying to open the out-of-the-money July 17 call, which saw more than 2,100 contracts traded -- nearly all of which crossed at the ask price. Plus, call open interest at the back-month strike ballooned by more than 2,000 contracts overnight, confirming our theory of newly opened bullish bets.

As a result of the growing affinity for short-term options, the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) has muscled higher in the weeks leading up to tomorrow's earnings release. Currently, the security's SVI sits at 88% -- in the 63rd percentile of its annual range. In other words, OVTI's near-term option premiums are a little richer than usual at the moment.

However, despite the recent spike in call volume, there's still plenty of room on OVTI's bullish bandwagon. In fact, while the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) has beaten a steady path lower in recent weeks, it stands at 1.32, indicating that puts still outnumber calls among options expiring within three months. Plus, this ratio still stands higher than 70% of all others taken during the past year, implying that near-term options traders are more put-heavy than usual.

In the same vein, despite dropping 3.4% during the most recent reporting period, short interest still accounts for 17.6% of the equity's total available float. In fact, at OVTI's average pace of trading, it would take about a week to buy back all of these bearish bets.

Technically speaking, the shares of OVTI have given up 17.9% in May, steepening their 52-week deficit to 56.4%. However, the equity's Relative Strength Index (RSI) now rests at a slim 28 -- in oversold territory, suggesting a short-term rebound could be in the cards. What's more, the equity finished atop its formerly supportive 10-day moving average for the first time in more than a month yesterday, though it's struggling to notch another trendline victory in early trading today.

Daily chart of OVTI since March 2012 with 10-day moving average

Nevertheless, the lingering pessimism plaguing OVTI could translate into a contrarian boon for the stock, should the company extend its winning streak in the earnings spotlight tomorrow night. A stronger-than-anticipated earnings report or guidance could spook the lingering skeptics on the Street, which could help OVTI reclaim trendline support.

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