Stocks quoted in this article:
The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest total options volume during the past 10 trading days. Names highlighted are new to the list since the last time the study was run, and data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. Three names of notable interest this afternoon are Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), and Vale SA (ADR) (NYSE:VALE).
Ahead of Facebook Inc's turn at the earnings plate tonight, another shareholder appears to be hedging with a collar, this time using the June 2014 series of calls and puts. Meanwhile, Vale SA (ADR) has its own quarterly report slated for release one week from today. In VALE's options pits, speculators are buying to open the November 18 call before the announcement. Elsewhere, here's a look at where Apple Inc. traders are placing their bets, as the stock bounces back from yesterday's post-earnings slip.
After posting a modest loss yesterday on the heels of its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report, Apple Inc. has resumed its uptrend, and was last seen 1.6% higher at $524.87. Over the past six months, the tech titan has added an impressive 18.5%. One group of speculators in today's session is eyeing additional end-of-the-week gains by scooping up the weekly 11/1 525-strike call. Nearly 14,700 contracts have been traded here, a healthy portion of which crossed on the ask side. Plus, volume is easily outstripping open interest, hinting at buy-to-open activity.
Based on AAPL's current price, these calls are just barely out of the money. In order for the speculators to turn a profit, though, the stock must rise another 0.9% by Friday's close to topple the breakeven mark of $529.33, which is the strike plus the volume-weighted average price of $4.33.
Meanwhile, in the wake of Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) earnings report, the stock's 30-day, at-the-money implied volatility has dropped to 25.4% from last Friday's reading of 35.6%. Additionally, AAPL's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) has plunged 13 percentage points to 26% in the same time frame, and now ranks below 72% of similar readings taken in the past year. In other words, premium on the equity's near-term options has become relatively inexpensive following Monday's scheduled event.