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 among call players this afternoon is Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F).
Ford Motor Company is down 0.7% today at $16.68, while call volume on the stock is slightly elevated on an intraday basis, and is outstripping put volume by a more than 8-to-1 margin. Responsible for the influx of call activity in F's options pits are four large transactions -- amounting to a total of 30,000 contracts -- at the January 2015 17-strike call, which (according to Trade-Alert) may be tied to stock.
The second most active option is Ford's June 17 call, where more than 9,300 contracts have changed hands. It looks as though long bullish positions are being opened here, as 85% of the contracts went off at the ask price, and implied volatility at the strike has increased by 3.6 percentage points. In other words, speculators are betting on F shares surpassing $17 by this Friday's close, when front-month options expire. The last time the equity closed north of this mark was last Tuesday, June 10.
Looking back, Ford has tacked on 16.5% from its Feb. 3 year-to-date low of $14.40. However, delta on the aforementioned call sits at 0.20, meaning the option has a 1-in-5 chance of finishing in the money at expiration. Should the shares remain below the strike price at week's end, the most the call buyers stand to lose is the initial premium paid.
Today's preference for calls over puts is just par for the course on Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F). The stock's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 10.98 ranks in the 97th percentile of its 12-month range. This means roughly 11 F calls have been bought to open for every put during the past two weeks -- representing a near-annual-high rate, from a historical perspective.