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. One name of notable interest this afternoon is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
Calls are once again the options of choice on Apple Inc., and at last check, roughly 342,000 calls had crossed the tape today. This is a 68% mark-up to expected intraday levels, and considerably outpaces the number of puts traded. As noted, this is just par for the course for option players, and over the past 20 sessions, AAPL has racked up an International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 1.71.
In today's trading, the January 2014 560-strike call is the most sought-after position, where 34,910 contracts have changed hands. A healthy portion of these calls crossed the tape on the ask side, and volume exceeds current levels of open interest, indicating the initiation of a fresh batch of bullish bets. Although AAPL topped the strike price earlier today, delta for the call is docked at 0.42, or 42%, suggesting a roughly 2-in-5 chance of an in-the-money finish at this Friday's close, which is when front-month options expire.
On the charts, AAPL is perched near breakeven on a year-to-date basis, thanks to this afternoon's 2.2% pop. This positive price action comes on the heels of a settlement reached between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and the Federal Trade Commission regarding unauthorized app purchases. Longer term, the shares have tacked on about 45% since hitting an annual low of $385.10 last April. With a little over an hour to go in today's session, the stock was hovering around $557.62.