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Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) tagged a three-year peak of $18.08 earlier -- after announcing plans to expand its presence in the Middle East and Africa -- but was last seen up 0.6% to trade at $17.91. Against this backdrop, call players continue to dominate the stock's options pits, with the contracts outpacing puts by a nearly 5-to-1 margin. Short-term contracts are in demand, per the equity's 30-day at-the-money implied volatility (IV), which is up 4.7% at 21.6%.
The most sought-after F strike is the July 18 call, and it appears a number of eleventh-hour option bulls are keeping the faith that Ford can rally back up to today's technical milestone by tomorrow's close. The majority of the 13,145 contracts traded here did so at the ask price, IV is up 2.9 percentage points, and data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE) confirms buy-to-open activity.
Today's traders are paying a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.07 for the July 18 calls, making breakeven at tomorrow's close $18.07 (strike plus VWAP). Gains are theoretically unlimited beyond this point, while losses are capped at the premium paid, should F finish the week south of the strike price.
Turns out today's option players haven't been the only ones targeting F's July 18 call. At present, this strike houses peak call open interest of 51,579 contracts in the front-month series. In the very near term, this area could translate into an options-related ceiling for Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), as the hedges related to these bets unwind ahead of tomorrow's close, when July options expire.