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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 Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC).
Put activity has picked up in Intel Corporation's options pits lately, as evidenced by data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Specifically, the stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 0.80 ranks in the 86th percentile of its annual range, meanings puts have been bought to open, relative to calls, with more rapidity just 14% of the time within the past year.
It's a trend that's continuing in today's session, with puts changing hands at a 56% mark-up to the intraday average rate. INTC's May 25 put has received notable attention, and at last check, 6,300 contracts -- including a multi-exchange sweep of 2,500 -- had changed hands. Nearly all of these positions have crossed the tape at the ask price, and implied volatility is on the rise, two indications that there may be some buy-to-open activity happening here. If traders are indeed initiating long positions, the goal is for Intel to breach the $25 mark by the close on Friday, May 16, when back-month options expire. The options market isn't too confident of an in-the-money finish, though, as delta for the put is docked at negative 0.28.
On the charts, INTC has staged a solid rebound since hitting its year-to-date low of $23.50 on Feb. 5, with the shares up nearly 12% to linger near $26.25. Plus, after trading on both sides of its year-to-date breakeven mark over the past week, the security is on pace to notch a second consecutive close north of $25.99, suggesting this area could now emerge as a layer of support.
What's more, peak put open interest in the front-month series of options is currently found at the April 26 strike, where more than 65,700 contracts are in residence. This could create another foothold for the stock at the $26 mark, as the hedges related to these bets unwind ahead of the April 17 close, which is when the options expire.
Of note, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) is scheduled to report quarterly earnings after the close on Tuesday, April 15. For Intel's first quarter, Wall Street is calling for a per-share profit of 37 cents -- a few pennies shy of the company's year-ago results.