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Option Brief: Put volume accelerated on Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX) yesterday, ahead of the company's early morning showing in the earnings confessional. By the time the dust settled, roughly 29,000 contracts had changed hands, or more than two times the expected daily rate. The most active strike was the February 19 put, and by the looks of it, a number of speculators were hoping for ABX to continue with its historical post-earnings price action.
Of the 8,318 contracts that changed hands here, 69% did so on the ask side. Implied volatility finished the session 1.7 percentage points higher, and open interest rose overnight, making it safe to assume that new bearish bets were initiated. By purchasing these puts to open, speculators were anticipating the stock to fall further south of the $19 mark through next Friday's close -- when the front-month options expire.
However, despite reporting an adjusted fourth-quarter profit that missed analysts' expectations, the stock is headed higher in early trading, thanks to a revenue beat. This positive price action just highlights the equity's recent momentum, though, with the shares up nearly 28% from their early December low of $15.26 to trade at $19.51. As noted, Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX) is poised to extend its year-to-date lead in today's session, flirting with a 2.9% gain right out of the gate.