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Most Active Options: Ford Motor, Citigroup Inc, Green Mountain Coffee

F, C, and GMCR are seeing notable options trading activity today

by 5/22/2013 3:05 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

Of the 20 equities seeing the heaviest options volume in recent sessions, three names of notable interest this afternoon are Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NYSE:GMCR). Here is a quick look at today's interesting activity in these options pits.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is relatively flat today, despite announcing it is increasing production at a number of plants to meet rising demand. However, the stock managed to touch a fresh two-year peak of $15.32, and has bounced roughly 23% from its most recent low of $12.15, which was tagged on April 5. Option players continue to eye a deeper move into multi-year high territory, and are scooping up the weekly 6/7 16-strike call for a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.08. Of the 6,907 contracts traded, 98% have gone off at the ask price, implied volatility was last seen higher, and volume is easily outstripping open interest, making it safe to assume that a portion of today's activity is of the buy-to-open variety. In order for these out-of-the-money calls to be profitable, Ford must muscle its way north of $16.08 (strike price plus the VWAP) by June 7. This breakeven mark represents expected upside of 7.6% from the F's current perch at $14.95.

Thanks to some upbeat brokerage attention, Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) hit its own notable mark today, with the stock reaching $52.89 for the first time since August 2009. The technical milestone has option players swarming around the weekly 5/24 52.50-strike call, hoping for additional upside through week's end. A healthy portion of the out-of-the-money puts has changed hands at the ask price, and volume is exceeding current levels of open interest, indicating the initiation of fresh bullish bets. The calls were purchased for VWAP of $0.46, making breakeven $52.96. Going forward, C may be poised for more analyst-induced upside. The stock tallies five "hold" or worse suggestions, compared to 18 "buy" or better ratings. Plus, the consensus 12-month price target of $53.99 is a slim 4.5% premium to C's present trading price of $51.65. Another round of upgrades and/or price-target hikes could create some contrarian-related tailwinds for the stock.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.'s (NYSE:GMCR) momentum seems to have finally stalled, with the stock down 4.5% at $76.46. Considering the equity has tacked on around 85% year-to-date, and its Relative Strength Index (RSI) of 87 is sitting solidly in overbought territory, a near-term pullback wasn't necessarily out of the question. The stock has further to fall, according to the group of speculators who have picked up 2,464 weekly 5/24 77.50-strike puts today. The majority of the contracts have crossed at the ask price, and volume is exceeding current levels of open interest, pointing to buyer-driven activity. Today's drop has not only pulled the puts into the money, but has also brought the option below breakeven at $76.78 (strike price less the VWAP of $0.72) ahead of this Friday's expiration. Widening the sentiment scope reveals that traders have shown a penchant for puts among options expiring in three months or less. In fact, the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 2.48 ranks in the highest percentile readings of its annual range, implying short-term speculators are more put-heavy now than at any other 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.

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