Stocks quoted in this article:
The 20 stocks listed below have seen the highest total options volume over the course of the last 10 trading days. Data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. One stock seeing notable activity on both the call and put side is Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F).
Ford shares are sitting slightly below breakeven to rest at $15.58, but call players have asserted their dominance over the options pits. More than 43,000 contracts have changed hands, representing a 15% mark-up to typical intraday call volume, and nearly tripling put volume.
Most active is the January 2015 17-strike call, where more than 7,000 contracts have changed hands. The lion's share of these, per information from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), was sold to open by a customer who believes Ford will continue to trade below the $17 mark through January options expiration in roughly 10 months. In fact, F shares have not seen the north side of $17 since early December.
Ford has been a favorite among call buyers for quite some time. The stock's 50-day ISE, Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 4.14 ranks higher than 96% of similar readings taken during the past year. In short, demand for long calls has quadrupled that for long puts during the past 10 weeks, and this demand is also approaching an annual high.
Also notable in Ford's options pits today are two put contracts -- the January 2015 15-strike put and the May 15 put. Symmetrical blocks of 4,000 contracts traded simultaneously, with the May option going off at the bid price, while the LEAPS contracts traded above the ask. Given that the May option saw similar volume cross on Jan. 27, it's possible these positions are being rolled out to a later month, by selling to close the May puts and buying to open the January ones.
Outside of the options pits, it's been a good run for Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who earned $13.8 million in performance bonuses in 2013, the automaker yesterday disclosed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The payment came in the form of stock, which Mulally is restricted from selling until March 2016. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) shareholders, however, have had a rocky few months. Since peaking at a two-year high of $18.02 in late October, the shares have tumbled 13.5%. In 2014, the shares have gained less than 1%.