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Shoe concern Deckers Outdoor Corp (NASDAQ:DECK - 46.98) was popular among call traders on Friday, possibly in response to news that Chairman and CEO Angel Martinez upped his stake in the company on July 11. During the course of the session, DECK saw roughly 18,000 calls cross the tape -- more than six times its average daily call volume, and more than double the number of DECK puts exchanged.
Attracting notable attention was the security's out-of-the-money September 52.50 call, which saw more than 3,100 contracts change hands -- mostly in one fell swoop at the ask price, suggesting they were bought. Plus, call open interest at the back-month strike jumped by close to 2,800 contracts over the weekend, pointing to new positions. By purchasing the calls to open, the traders are expecting DECK to surmount the $52.50 level within the next couple of months.
However, not all of the call volume appeared to be bullish in nature. The equity's near-the-money August 47.50 call saw more than 4,800 contracts traded -- mostly in large blocks at the bid price, hinting at seller-driven volume. Furthermore, call open interest at the soon-to-be front-month strike jumped by more than 4,000 contracts over the weekend. By writing the calls to open, the sellers are hoping DECK remains south of $47.50 throughout the next few weeks. In this best-case scenario, the calls will expire worthless and the traders can retain the entire premium received from the sale.
Despite yesterday's affinity for short calls, options traders have been initiating bullish bets at a rapid-fire rate lately. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock sports a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 5.28, indicating that speculators have bought to open more than five DECK calls for every put during the past two weeks. Plus, this ratio ranks in the 99th percentile of its annual range, implying that options players are scooping up calls over puts at a near annual-high clip.
It's worth noting, though, that short interest still accounts for more than 21.9% of DECK's total available float, despite dropping by 10.5% during the most recent reporting period. In fact, it would take nearly a week to buy back all of these bearish bets, at DECK's average daily trading volume. Against this backdrop, it's possible that the healthier-than-usual appetite for long calls could be attributable to hedging activity among the shorts.
On the charts, DECK hasn't been much to write home about. The stock has stair-stepped more than 37% lower since the start of 2012, and tagged a fresh 52-week low of $42.16 just a few weeks ago. Ushering the stock lower has been its 10-week moving average, which has contained all but two of DECK's weekly closes since mid-November.