Stocks quoted in this article:
The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (EL) hit a new 52-week high of $68.09 on Friday, extending its year-to-date ascent of 40%. Following this news, option players flocked to the makeup maven, driving volume to 5,863 contracts traded -- over three times EL's usual daily volume of 1,690.
Calls were preferred among option players on Friday, with 5,159 of these bullishly biased bets changing hands -- six times EL's average call volume of roughly 812 contracts.
Most popular was EL's May 70 call, which saw volume of 3,147 contracts traded. Zeroing in on specific activity at this strike, it appears one trader is responsible for the bulk of this volume. Late Friday morning, two blocks totaling 2,200 May 70 calls traded closer to the ask price, suggesting they were bought. Over the weekend, 2,583 contracts were added at this strike, confirming that new positions were added.
By buying to open the May 70 call, this option player is betting on EL to continue its recent uptrend, surpassing the $70 level by May expiration. EL is currently trading at $67.63, making these calls over two points out of the money.
But this option player is not alone in his optimism for EL. The May 70 strike is currently home to peak call open interest for the newly front-month series, with 4,305 contracts in residence.
Furthermore, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stands at 0.63, an annual bullish acme, indicating that near-term traders have never been more optimistic toward EL in the past 12 months.