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 Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA).
Calls have had the slight edge over puts in Tesla Motors Inc's options pits of late. Over the course of the past 20 sessions, in fact, traders at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open 208,756 calls on TSLA, compared to 201,845 puts.
It's a similar backdrop in today's session, where around 35,000 calls have changed hands, compared to roughly 31,000 puts. Two of the more active calls fall in the weekly 5/2 series, as eleventh-hour speculators bet on an extended run for the electric automaker through tomorrow's close.
Specifically, the weekly 5/2 210- and 215-strike calls have seen a respective 4,172 and 5,043 contracts change hands -- mostly at the ask price, hinting at buyer-driven activity. What's more, implied volatility is up more than 20 percentage points at each strike, and volume outstrips open interest, making it safe to assume that new positions are being initiated.
While the lower-strike call is currently in the money, breakeven at tomorrow's close is $214.12, or the strike plus the volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $4.12. Meanwhile, the higher-strike calls are being purchased for a VWAP of $2.39, making breakeven for these more aggressive traders $217.39.
This bullish positioning is understandable, given the fact that TSLA has nearly quadrupled in value year-over-year. More recently, the stock entered a brief period of consolidation after hitting a record high of $265 in late February, but found a foothold atop its rising 20-week moving average and bounced. In today's session, the stock is continuing with this upward momentum, tacking on 2.9% at last check to trade at $213.95.
While this won't affect today's batch of eleventh-hour speculators, it is worth noting that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will take its turn in the earnings confessional after next Wednesday's close. The company has exceeded analysts' bottom-line estimates in five of the past eight quarters, and the stock has followed up averaging a single-session post-earnings gain of 5%. What's more, TSLA was 30.7% higher one week after unveiling its last quarterly report in February -- when it was heading toward record-high territory.