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 Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO).
After hitting a multi-year high of $41.72 earlier this month, Yahoo! Inc. has spent some time consolidating just north of the $39 mark, and in today's session, the equity was last seen 2% lower at $39.21. This hasn't stopped call volume from running at an 80% mark-up to average intraday levels, though, and it appears that both short- and long-term traders are betting on a bounce for the Internet issue.
Short-term speculators are targeting the February 44 calls, where 5,977 contracts have traded -- mostly at the ask price. With implied volatility (IV) on the rise, and volume outstripping open interest, it appears a fresh batch of bullish bets has been initiated. Should the stock fail to topple the $44 mark by the close on Friday, Feb. 21, when front-month options expire, the most the traders stand to lose is the initial premium paid. According to Trade-Alert, the volume-weighted average price for the calls is $0.46. Of note, the lifetime of these calls encompasses the company's upcoming quarterly earnings report, which is slated for release one week from today.
Meanwhile, longer-term Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) traders are honing in on the July 41 call. The majority of the 6,799 contracts that have crossed the tape here have done so on the ask side, IV has ticked higher, and volume exceeds current levels of open interest, pointing to buy-to-open activity. It's a coin toss as to whether this call will be in the money at July options expiration, as delta is docked at 0.49, or 49%.