Stocks quoted in this article:
The 20 stocks below have attracted the highest options volume during the past 10 trading days. The companies highlighted are those that are new to the list since the last time the study was run. Data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. Three names of notable interest this afternoon are Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).
Some upbeat attention from the brokerage bunch has INTC up 1.8% today, but many speculators are eyeing a quick retreat by purchasing (to open) the October 22 puts. Meanwhile, amid MSFT's headline-stealing day, which includes news of a dividend payment and buyback program, speculators are targeting the stock's January 2014 16-strike puts. Elsewhere, here is a quick look at the interesting activity in FB's options pits.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is trading higher, with the stock flirting with a 4.5% lead. Not surprisingly, calls are the options of choice -- outpacing puts by a margin of nearly 2-to-1. Unlike last Thursday's brazen bear, one group of today's traders is taking a more optimistic approach to FB. Specifically, the October 45 call has seen 30,756 contracts cross the tape for a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $1.49. The majority of these positions have changed hands at the ask price, and data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE) confirms that at least a portion of the day's activity is of the buy-to-open sort. By initiating these long calls, traders will begin to profit with each step north of $46.49 (strike plus the VWAP) FB takes through the close on Oct. 18. This breakeven mark resides 4.4% above the equity's current perch at $44.55, as well as in territory FB has yet to explore. As far as the options market goes, it's a coin toss as to whether the call will find its way into the money ahead of expiration. At last check, delta for the option was docked at 0.49, or 49%.
On the charts, FB's shaky start in 2013 has been fodder around the Street for some time. However, thanks to an unexpectedly strong earnings report in late July, the equity is now sporting a year-to-date advance of nearly 67%.