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Bullish speculation has bubbled over in Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) today; roughly 86,000 call options have changed hands already. This volume is not only running more than 40% above what is typically seen on a normal day, but is close to four times the number of puts that have traded.
The lion's share of this volume has traded across two strikes, in two large blocks. Midday, a block of 25,622 June 23 calls went off at the bid price of $1.83. It appears this was a close-out of positions opened on March 27, when a large block of calls traded for $0.26. At the same time this crossed the tape, a similarly sized block of the July 25 calls traded at the ask price of $0.74 per contract.
So it appears this same large-scale bullish trader is exiting his front-month, in-the-money calls, and opening up a slightly larger trade one month later (at a slightly out-of-the-money strike). Meanwhile, the stock -- currently perched at $24.86 -- has been consolidating south of the $25 level for the last several weeks. In fact, Intel has not had a weekly close above this threshold since mid-August.
Overall, calls have been increasingly favored among Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) speculators of late. The equity's 10-day call/put volume ratio measuring buy-to-open activity on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) stands at 1.63. This reading is higher than two-thirds of other data points from the past year, suggesting that long calls are in greater demand than usual.
If INTC remains saddled beneath the 25 strike through options expiration on July 19, though, today's call buyer loses only the premium paid. Delta on the option is currently 0.50, representing a 1-in-2 chance of an in-the-money finish five weeks from now.