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Option players have been exhibiting a growing preference for calls on EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC - 26.43). During the past 10 sessions, traders at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open 4.29 calls for every put, a marked rise over EMC's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 1.81. Additionally, the 10-day ratio ranks higher than 73% of other such annual readings, indicating bullish bets have been scooped up over bearish at a faster-than-usual clip in recent weeks.
This cry for calls is being echoed in today's session. Roughly 66,000 calls have changed hands so far, representing almost 12 times the average intraday trading volume for call options. As a point of comparison, around 12,000 put contracts have crossed the tape.
Long-term traders have set their sights on the January 2014 20- and 25-strike calls, which have emerged as the favorites on the day. Trade-Alert has noted that all of the contracts at each strike have crossed at the ask price, and volume outweighs open interest. In other words, we can assume new bullish positions are being opened at both strikes today. By buying to open the LEAPS calls, speculators are betting on EMC to be perched atop the respective breakeven levels of $28.25 [20 strike plus volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $8.25] and $29.95 (25 strike plus VWAP of $4.95) by January 2014 options expiration.
Short-term calls have proven to be quite popular on EMC, as well. The stock currently sports a front-month gamma-weighted Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.42, indicating near-the-money call open interest more than doubles put open interest among options expiring in September.
In the near term, this collection of calls could rear its ugly head toward EMC. The overhead September 27 strike is currently home to peak call open interest, where more than 11,200 contracts reside. The stock could meet options-related resistance at this level, as the hedges related to these bets are unwound.
On a technical basis, EMC has moved steadily up the charts, tacking on 19% over the past 52 weeks. The stock's longer-term technical prowess is highlighted by its 10-month moving average -- a trendline that has guided the equity higher since July 2009.
In today's session, though, EMC is following the broad market into the red. At last check, the stock was down around 1.7% to hover near $26.43.