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 today is Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), which has seen attention from intermediate-term bears.
Currently, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) calls and puts are running near parity, with roughly 15,000 contracts exchanged on both sides of the aisle. However, most active by far is the November 30 put, where approximately 5,500 contracts are on the tape. Two-thirds have crossed at the ask price, and open interest consists of just 1,110 contracts, making it safe to assume new bearish bets are being initiated.
Today's put buyers anticipate INTC will drop below $29.38 (strike less the volume-weighted average price of $0.62) by the close on Friday, Sept. 19, when the options expire. This would represent a loss of 10.5% from the equity's current perch at $32.84. Additional gains will accumulate with each step south of the aforementioned breakeven mark, while the most the traders risk losing is the initial cash outlay, should the stock be perched above the strike at expiration.
On the charts, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has put on a clinic in 2014, adding 26.6% year-to-date, and last month tagging a decade-plus high of $34.83. That said, delta on the November-dated put is negative 0.24, denoting a slim 24% chance the option will expire in the money. In fact, given INTC's longer-term technical strength, it's possible some of today's put buyers are simply shareholders picking up the contracts as insurance against an unexpected pullback.