Stocks quoted in this article:
Of the 20 equities seeing the heaviest options volume in recent sessions, two names of notable interest this afternoon are Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK - 4.35) and Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F - 13.91). Here is a quick look at today's interesting activity in these options pits.
Volume has ramped up on NOK in the wake of the company's earnings report, which received mixed reviews. Although puts were popular heading into this news, calls have taken center stage today. Nearly 95,000 calls have changed hands, versus 59,000 puts. Most active is the weekly 1/25 4.5-strike call, where more than 17,000 contracts have traded, and the majority of which crossed at the ask price. Because these calls are out of the money and contain very little time value (they expire at tomorrow's close), they are being scooped up for an extremely low premium. The volume-weighted average price is $0.05, making breakeven at expiration $4.55 (strike plus debit paid).
The F calendar is busy in the coming week, as the stock goes ex-dividend on Monday and the company reports earnings on Tuesday. Meanwhile, today investors are focused on the September 14 put, which came into the session with open interest of just 716 contacts but has seen more than 5,500 contracts change hands. The lion's share of this volume crossed the tape in one block, as 5,000 contracts traded a penny shy of the ask price, at $1.31 per contract. If these bearish bets are, in fact, being purchased to open, it suggests investors are targeting longer-term downside in the stock. Breakeven for the option (at expiration) is $12.69 (strike less premium paid), which is 8.8% south of the stock's current price. The option's delta currently stands at negative 50 (or 50%), giving it a 1-in-2 chance of being in the money by expiration. This only considers, however, whether the stock will be trading south of the strike price, not below breakeven for the particular trade.
The 20 stocks below have attracted the highest options volume -- in the front three-months' series -- during the past 10 trading days. Data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White.