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. Three names of notable interest this afternoon are Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).
Ford Motor Company is trading lower today, after running to an earnings-induced multi-year high yesterday, but this hasn't stopped one trader from upping the bullish ante. According to Trade-Alert, roughly 40,000 December 19 calls have been bought to open at the hands of a single speculator over the past three sessions. Elsewhere, Google Inc call volume is running at a 42% mark-up to its average intraday pace, and all 10 of the top trades expire at tonight's close. Finally, here's a closer look at where Intel Corporation option players are pinning their short-term bullish hopes.
Intel Corporation is higher, thanks in part to upbeat earnings from fellow tech titan Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). Today's positive price action just highlights a recent trend, with the stock up more than 3% since reporting its own better-than-expected quarterly results on Oct. 15. In INTC's options pits, it's all about the calls today, with the contracts trading at a 57% mark-up to the average intraday volume. Plus, calls are outpacing puts by a margin of more than 3-to-1.
The most active strike thus far is the November 24 call, which has seen about 19,000 contracts change hands -- including one large lot of 15,000 contracts. Nearly all of these calls have gone off on the ask side, and implied volatility was higher at last check, hinting at the initiation of new bullish positions. With INTC trading at $24.17, these calls are currently in the money. However, in order for these speculators to profit, the stock must rise an additional 1% to topple the breakeven mark of $24.42 (strike plus the volume-weighted average price of $0.42).
Now appears to be an opportune time to buy premium on INTC, as Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) has dropped 9 percentage points to 18% since Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) reported earnings last week. The current SVI is ranked lower than 91% of similar readings taken in the past year, suggesting the stock's short-term options are inexpensive, relatively speaking.