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 General Motors Company (NYSE:GM).
Calls are outpacing puts in General Motors Company's options pits this afternoon by a margin of 2-to-1. However, with GM's recent round of technical troubles continuing today, not all of this activity is of the traditional bullish sense.
Specifically, two symmetrical blocks of 4,500 contracts simultaneously changed hands earlier at GM's March 37 and 39 calls. The former traded closer to the bid price for $0.43 apiece, while the latter went off at the ask price for $0.12 each. Implied volatility rose at each leg, hinting at the initiation of a short call spread for a net credit of $0.31 per pair of contracts.
By establishing the conservative strategy, today's speculator expects GM to remain at or below $37 through the close on Friday, March 21. In this best-case scenario, both calls will expire worthless, and she can retain the net credit collected as her maximum potential reward. Breakeven for the spread is $37.31 (sold strike plus the net credit), while risk -- should the shares rally over the next few weeks -- is limited to $1.69, which is the difference between the two strikes, less the net credit.
On the charts, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) briefly traded in the green this morning, after its February sales numbers arrived above analysts' estimates. However, the stock was unable to maintain this momentum, and was last seen 0.2% lower at $36.13. Since hitting a peak of $41.85 in late December, shares of the automaker have shed 13.7%.