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 Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE).
After shedding nearly 3% yesterday in the wake of a patent defeat, Pfizer Inc. is on the mend today, up 0.7% at last check to linger near $31.33. In spite of this, put volume is running at a 74% mark-up to the average intraday pace, and one speculator is betting on longer-term struggles for the pharmaceutical concern.
Specifically, the largest block trade in PFE's options pits thus far took place at the December 30 put, and the lot of 2,500 that crossed earlier went off at the ask price of $1.94 apiece, pointing to buyer-driven activity. Meanwhile, volume exceeds current levels of open interest, suggesting that new positions are being initiated. Delta for the put is docked at negative 0.41, implying a roughly 2-in-5 chance of an in-the-money finish at December options expiration.
Should the equity maintain its perch atop the $30 mark -- a level PFE's only breached once on an intraday basis in 2014 -- the most the put buyer stands to lose is the initial premium paid. For today's block trader, this equates to $485,000 (number of puts, times premium paid, times 100 shares per contract).
As noted, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) is rebounding from Thursday's drop, thanks in part to a price-target hike to $36 from $34 at Morgan Stanley this morning. Additionally, U.S. regulators today approved a supplemental new drug application for Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's (NYSE:BMY) blood clotting drug Eliquis, which is sold in partnership with Pfizer.