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Of the 20 equities seeing the heaviest options volume in recent sessions, three names of notable interest this afternoon are The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC). Here is a quick look at today's interesting activity in these options pits.
Shares of The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) rallied to a five-year high of $95.15 today, amid reports it is resuming delivery, and ramping up production, of its recently scorned 787 Dreamliner. Although paring a portion of these earlier gains, the stock is still up 0.5% to trade at $94.52. The news has one group of option players eyeing a further advance into multi-year high territory, specifically targeting a move north of the $97.50 mark. Just over 1,300 of Boeing's July 97.50 calls have crossed the tape today for a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $2.17. Nearly all of these positions have changed hands on the ask side, implied volatility has ticked higher, and volume is easily outstripping open interest, pointing to the initiation of new bullish bets. In order for the out-of-the-money (OOTM) calls to be profitable, BA must rise above $99.67 (strike price plus the VWAP) by July options expiration. Risk, meanwhile, is limited to the initial premium paid.
Despite Ford Motor Company's (NYSE:F) 52-week advance of roughly 33%, some long-term pessimists in today's session are betting on the stock to surrender all of these gains and then some over the next eight months. Each of the 1,217 January 2014 10-strike puts traded have gone off at the ask price, and implied volatility is on the rise, hinting at buy-to-open activity. These OOTM puts are being purchased for a VWAP of $0.16, making breakeven $9.84 (strike less VWAP), or roughly 31% below the stock's current perch at $14.25. These bearish bets diverge from the withstanding trend toward calls witnessed in F's options pits of late. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 3.93 ranks in the 73rd percentile of its annual range. In simpler terms, calls have been bought to open over puts at a healthier-than-usual clip in recent weeks. Fundamentally, Ford Motor is hosting its annual shareholder conference today.
Another day, another move higher for Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC). At last check, the stock had tacked on around 0.6% to trade at $24.40. The equity has now bounced a cool 21.3% from its late February year-to-date low of $20.10. Near-term option traders just refuse to capitulate to this upward momentum, though, as evidenced by today's preference for INTC's July 24 puts. Around 7,800 contracts have traded here, mostly for the ask price. Implied volatility is on the upswing, and volume exceeds current levels of open interest, making it safe to assume that a portion of this activity is of the buy-to-open kind. Breakeven for the OOTM puts is $23.28 (strike less VWAP of $0.72). From a broader sentiment standpoint, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.20 ranks in the 99th percentile of its annual range. In other words, short-term speculators have been more put-heavy toward INTC just 1% of the time within the past year.
The 20 stocks below have attracted the highest options volume -- in the front three-months' series -- 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.