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Amid its dance with the $500 mark, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has seen accelerated bullish betting in the options pits. During the course of Thursday's session, the tech titan saw roughly 409,000 call contracts change hands -- a 46% mark-up to its average daily volume. On the flip side, just about 223,000 AAPL puts were exchanged.
Aside from soon-to-expire August-dated options, the weekly 8/23 505-strike call garnered quite a bit of attention, with more than 7,900 contracts traded. The majority of the calls crossed on the ask side, and open interest surged by more than 3,300 contracts overnight -- the most of any strike -- suggesting the calls were purchased to open.
By buying the calls at a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $5.75, the buyers will begin to profit if AAPL topples $510.75 (strike price plus VWAP) within the next week, which represents the options' shelf-life. From the stock's current perch at $500.84, it would take an ascent of nearly 2% in order for the shares to touch breakeven. Risk, meanwhile, is limited to the initial premium paid for the calls, should AAPL's recent rally stall beneath $505.
As alluded to earlier, yesterday's preference for AAPL calls is par for the course. The stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) has spiked to a 12-month peak of 2.53, indicating that option buyers have been picking up AAPL calls over puts at an annual-high clip.
Echoing that, the equity has earned 25 "strong buys" and four "buy" ratings from the analyst community, compared to eight "holds" and not a single "sell" or worse suggestion.
While the broad-market indexes are on pace for their worst week of 2013, AAPL has tacked on more than 10% to explore territory not charted since January. What's more, the stock is poised to finish the month north of its 10-month moving average for the first time since October 2012.
Off the charts, shareholders -- now including Carl Icahn -- are looking to Sept. 10, when Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is slated to unveil the next generation of its iPhone.