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A leadership shakeup at electronics retailer Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY - 17.05) garnered some positive attention from analysts this week, and today bullish option traders responded. Call volume is trending above normal rates this morning, with the out-of-the-money March 20 call accounting for about 25% of total call traffic.
That strike has seen its implied volatility spike 5.9 percentage points, and most of the contracts traded at the ask price -- indicating bought-to-open activity. With a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.30, BBY shares must climb 19% to $20.30 (strike price plus VWAP) by the close of March 15 (expiration date) for the trades to break even. If the stock is unable to hurdle the 20 strike, all the traders lose is the premium paid.
The stock has been on a charge lately, gaining 43.7% on the year so far after hitting its annual low of $11.20 on Dec. 27. Both Stifel, Nicolaus & Company and Barclays raised their ratings and price targets on BBY this week (Stifel rose it to $23, Barclays to $20), perhaps creating more upward pressure for the shares. Analysts with both firms appeared to agree that the newest executives are a good fit for BBY, which is overcoming a scandal that forced the previous CEO to resign. Overall, however, there are only two "strong buys" among the 20 analysts covering the company, compared with 16 "holds" and two rankings at "sell" or below.
Recent data shows that this bullish approach to BBY isn't new. The Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) for the equity is 0.59, and that ranks nearly in the bottom 20% of similar readings in the last 12 months, meaning traders have been more call-oriented lately toward options with three months or less until expiration. And on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), BBY's 10-day call/put volume ratio is 1.47, and that ranks in the 58th percentile, indicating another slight preference for calls as compared to similar readings in the last year.