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Call Volume Spikes Ahead of Earnings from Tyson Foods

CMED reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings

by 11/18/2011 12:26 PM
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Call traders are targeting Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN - 19.50) today, as speculators roll the dice ahead of the poultry producer's turn in the earnings spotlight on Monday. Around midday, the stock has seen more than 4,400 calls cross the tape -- about five times its average daily call volume. For comparison, fewer than 200 TSN puts have changed hands so far.

Digging deeper, the bulk of the action has centered on the out-of-the-money April 23 call, which has seen 3,500 contracts traded. What's more, implied volatility on the long-term call was last seen one percentage point higher, hinting at the initiation of new positions. However, the majority of the calls traded in one fell swoop between the bid and ask prices, making it difficult to say whether they were bought or sold.

In any event, today's preference for TSN calls runs counter to the growing trend seen on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), where the stock sports a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 3.87. What's more, this ratio registers in the 90th percentile of its annual range. In other words, options players have been picking up puts over calls at a much faster-than-usual clip during the past couple of weeks.

In the same vein, the security's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.23 indicates that puts outnumber calls among options slated to expire within three months. Furthermore, this ratio sits just 17 percentage points from an annual peak, implying that short-term options traders have rarely been more put-heavy on TSN during the past year.

In early afternoon trading, TSN has tacked on 1% to explore the $19.50 level, after Jefferies upped its price target on the stock to $22 from $20.


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