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 today is Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), where one options trader is setting a short-term floor.
Microsoft Corporation is grabbing headlines today, as CEO Satya Nadella announced the company will provide (at no cost) its cloud-computing technology and research applications to medical researchers fighting Ebola. "One of the things tomorrow morning we're going to do is make available Azure computer power to the research community," Nadella said. "In addition we have some tools that Microsoft researchers built to be able to do vaccine discovery, so we want to take all of that and make it available for the research community."
On the charts, MSFT has rallied nearly 2% to its current perch at $44.91. Meanwhile, in the stock's options pits, the November 42 put is seeing considerable activity, with roughly 13,500 contracts on the tape -- making it the software name's most active option.
Around noon ET, several large and mid-sized blocks changed hands at the out-of-the-money strike. Based on data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), it's safe to assume these puts are being sold to open, as the option writer foresees limited potential downside. Specifically, the trader is gambling on MSFT to remain at or above $42 from now through the close on Friday, Nov. 21, when front-month options expire.
Taking a step back, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) boasts an impressive 20% year-to-date gain, and is poised to close atop its 10-day moving average for just the second time since late September. Looking ahead, the company will report fiscal first-quarter earnings after the close on Thursday; analysts are expecting a per-share profit of 49 cents.