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 this afternoon is Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC).
Bank of America Corp (BAC) is bucking broad-market trend lower this afternoon, and was last seen up 0.5% to trade at $17.41. In the stock's options pits, overall activity is running at a 60% mark-up to average intraday levels, with roughly 152,000 calls and 89,000 puts exchanged thus far.
The two most active strikes of the day are the January 2015 22-strike call and put, where four large, symmetrical blocks totaling 50,000 contracts simultaneously crossed the tape right before noon. Data from Trade-Alert suggests that one speculator may be closing out of a short straddle position that was possibly initiated in mid-January when BAC was lingering near $17.
Next down on BAC's chain of most active options is the April 19 call, where nearly all of the 19,316 contracts traded have gone off at the ask price, signaling buyer-driven activity. Implied volatility (IV) has ticked 1.5 percentage points higher, and data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE) confirms the initiation of new long positions. Considering the security has not traded north of $19 in nearly four years, delta for the call is docked at 0.15, implying a slim 15% chance the option will expire in the money.
Finally, on the put side of the fence, short-term speculators are targeting the weekly 3/14 17-strike put, where the majority of the 13,216 contracts that have crossed the tape here have done so on the ask side. IV is up 4.6 percentage points, and volume exceeds current levels of open interest, pointing to the initiation of new long positions. With Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) sporting a 44% year-over-year advance, some of the activity at this out-of-the-money strike could be a result of shareholders picking up protective puts to hedge against any near-term downside.