Stocks quoted in this article:
Of the 20 equities with the heaviest options volume during the past two weeks, three names seeing notable trading today are Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB - 21.13), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM - 91.85), and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE - 24.87). Here is a brief look at some trades we are seeing in these option pits today.
Put volume is outpacing call volume in FB today, and speculators are zeroing in on an out-of-the-money option in the December series. Trade-Alert highlights a block of more than 12,000 19-strike puts, purchased for the ask price of $0.65 per contract. The strategy reflects the belief on the part of these bearish speculators that FB will drop below $18.35 (strike price minus net debit) during the next six weeks. By contrast, the most-active call is the November 23-strike position, where fewer than 2,500 contracts have traded.
XOM is among the most-active names in the options pits today, and it's no surprise, as the stock goes ex-dividend tomorrow, spurring some traders to make portfolio adjustments. Two strikes are particularly popular -- the January 75 calls and the January 45 calls. The former has seen more than 45,000 contracts trade, mostly between the bid and the ask prices. The latter has attracted volume of nearly 30,000 contracts closer to the bid price. Volume is easily trumping open interest on both in-the-money strikes.
And finally, PFE is also attracting some pre-ex-dividend attention, with November and December calls seeing notable volume. The in-the-money December 22-strike call is currently in the number-one spot, with roughly 13,000 contracts trading on open interest of about 6,400. For information on dividend-related options strategies, read on.
The 20 stocks below have attracted the highest options volume -- in the front three-months' series -- during the past two weeks. Data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White.