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 Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
Apple Inc. option volume is running at a 12% mark-up to average intraday levels, and amid the elevated demand, the stock's 30-day at-the-money implied volatility (IV) is rising from annual-low territory. At last check, this metric was sitting 13.5% higher at 20.2%. Calls have the slight edge over puts, and heading into the final half of the session, 1.32 calls have been traded for each put.
The two most active contracts thus far are AAPL's weekly 3/28 540- and 545-strike calls, where a collective 26,461 contracts have crossed the tape. A healthy portion at each strike have traded at the ask price, IV is higher, and volume outstrips open interest. In other words, it appears a portion of the day's activity is of the buy-to-open kind -- a theory confirmed by the International Securities Exchange (ISE).
The volume-weighted average price (VWAP) for the lower-strike calls is $3.54, making breakeven (at Friday's close) $543.54, which is the strike plus the VWAP. Along those same lines, breakeven for the higher-strike calls is $546.91 (strike plus the VWAP of $1.91).These levels stand roughly 1.3% and 1.9%, respectively, above AAPL's current perch at $536.49.
Technically speaking, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been making headway since hitting its most recent low of $493.55 in late January, with the shares up nearly 9%. This upward momentum is continuing in today's session following reports the tech titan is in talks with Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) over a potential joint venture.