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).
Puts players have been active in Apple Inc.'s options pits of late, per data from three major exchanges. In fact, the equity's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.71 ranks in the 98th percentile of its annual range, meaning puts have been bought to open, relative to calls, with more rapidity just 2% of the time within the past year.
In today's session, puts are trading at a slight mark-up to the average intraday pace, with speculators paying particular attention to the April 515 strike. More than 16,000 contracts have changed hands thus far -- a healthy portion at the ask price, hinting at buyer-driven activity. Meanwhile, volume outstrips open interest, suggesting that at least a portion of the day's volume is a result of new positions being initiated. By purchasing the puts to open, the expectation is for AAPL to fall south of $515 by tomorrow's close -- when front-month options expire -- a level breached earlier today when AAPL tumbled to an intraday low of $514.14.
Also worth mentioning is the most active strike in AAPL's options pits today, which happens to fall on the call side. Specifically, 23,032 April 520 calls are on the tape -- more than doubling existing open interest here. Based on AAPL's current price of $518.46, this strike is seeing a mix of buying and selling activity, a theory confirmed by data from the ISE. For those buying to open the calls, the goal is for AAPL to rally north of $520 over the next session-plus, while those selling to open the calls are betting on this level to act as a short-term layer of resistance.
Elsewhere, a U.S district court yesterday ruled against Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) e-book price-fixing appeal. Meanwhile, LiveDeal Inc (NASDAQ:LIVE) announced it has completed the development of its iOS app, and is now awaiting Apple's approval.