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Were Hopes Too High for Vringo Earnings?

VRNG calls were the options of choice ahead of earnings

by 11/15/2012 10:55 AM
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Traders have taken a shine to Vringo, Inc. (NYSEAMEX:VRNG - 3.55) lately, with options players snapping up calls over puts at a rapid pace in recent sessions. During the past five days, speculators on the International Securities Exchange (ISE) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) have bought to open 9,889 calls on VRNG, easily outnumbering the 3,268 puts that were purchased over the same time frame. In other words, 3.03 times more calls than puts were bought to open on the tech stock over the past week, revealing a clear bias toward bullishly oriented options.

From a longer-term view, VRNG sports a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.70 on the ISE, CBOE, and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) -- confirming that calls have been roughly three times more popular than puts in recent weeks. Plus, the security's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.50 indicates that calls double puts among options due to expire within three months.

In the soon-to-expire front-month series, peak call open interest of 27,379 contracts can be found at the November 5 strike. Looking out to the December series, which assumes front-month status next Monday, the 4-strike call leads the pack with 7,943 contracts outstanding. With VRNG trading around $3.50, all of these calls are out of the money.

Meanwhile, bears have sold short a hefty 25.9% of the stock's float, with short interest up 52% over the past two reporting periods. As a result, it's possible that call buyers have been picking up bullishly slanted options to hedge their short stock exposure, rather than to speculate on an imminent bounce for VRNG.

VRNG has rallied about 270% year-to-date, but the closely watched $5 level has been a sticking point. Despite several challenges of this region, the shares have been unable to manage a single weekly close north of $5. In today's trading, the stock is off about 4% following last night's coolly received earnings report.

Weekly Chart of VRNG since January 2012


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