Stocks quoted in this article:
The 20 stocks below have attracted the highest options volume during the past 10 trading days. The companies highlighted are those that are new to the list since the last time the study was run. Data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. Three names of notable interest this afternoon are Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).
INTC call volume is slightly accelerated, trading at a 30% mark-up to the average intraday pace. The October 25 strike is the most active call thus far, where a healthy amount of activity has been seen on both the ask and the bid side. Elsewhere, MSFT is one of the three blue chips in the red at last check, prompting one shareholder to initiate a collar in the April 2014 series. Meanwhile, here is a quick look at the interesting activity in MU's options pits.
Calls are outpacing puts in Micron Technology, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:MU) options pits by a margin of more than 2-to-1, after Taiwan memory makers said nearly 30% of MU's PC-use DRAM supply has been booked by large clients. The two most sought-after positions are the weekly 9/27 15- and 17-strike calls, which have seen a respective 7,597 and 4,008 contracts change hands. Nearly all of the contracts at each strike have crossed on the ask side, implied volatility has jumped, and data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE) confirms buy-to-open activity. With MU trading at $16.57, the weekly 9/27 15-strike call is currently in the money. However, speculators will not begin to profit until MU moves above $16.73, which is the strike plus the volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $1.73. Meanwhile, the VWAP for the out-of-the-money, weekly 9/27 17-strike calls is $0.36, making breakeven $17.36 -- in territory not explored by MU since October 2006.
Today's accelerated call activity marks a change of pace in MU's options pits, per data from the ISE, Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Specifically, the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.49 ranks in the 90th percentile of its annual range, meaning puts have been bought to open (relative to calls) at a near annual-high clip of late. Given MU's impressive 161% year-to-date advance, this recent uptick in put volume could simply be shareholders picking up some options-related insurance against any potential pullbacks. In fact, due to the equity's steady rise this year, MU's Relative Strength Index (RSI) of 71 is sitting in overbought territory.