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Option traders are hoping IT firm Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL - 34.84) will see a downturn in the weeks following its upcoming earnings report, making big trades on the April 33 put today. It's part of a bearish focus on ORCL today as puts are trading at nearly double their normal volume in the option pits.
Overall, more than 15,000 puts have crossed the tape, as compared with just about 9,000 calls. More than 3,600 contracts have traded at the April 33 put strike, nearly all of which crossed at the ask price. Volume exceeds existing open interest, indicating that at least some of these puts were likely bought to open. The option was bought at the volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.69, meaning the stock needs to close below $32.31 (strike price minus VWAP) on the expiration date of April 19 for these trades to be profitable. That would be 7.3% below the stock's current level; otherwise, all the investors would lose is the premium paid.
ORCL has seen an increase in bearish activity recently. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows that the 10-day put/call volume ratio on the equity is 1.10. This ranks higher than all but 28% of other readings taken in the last 12 months -- showing just how much more pessimistic traders have been in the past two weeks.
The company announces its latest earnings on March 22, past the monthly option expiration date for March but four weeks ahead of the April date. Analysts covering ORCL are predicting income equivalent of 66 cents per share. ORCL has also roundly beaten estimates in three of the last four quarters. And the company has performed relatively well technically as of late. ORCL is up 19% year-over-year, and up 4.6% year-to-date.