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Atmel Corporation (ATML - 8.51) was the focus of some bullish attention in the options pits yesterday, as nearly 3,500 calls changed hands, which was double the equity's average daily call volume. More than 2,200 of these calls were traded at the near-the-money December 9 strike -- more than half of them at the ask price, suggesting they were purchased. Open interest on this option rose by 1,525 contracts overnight, making it safe to say that the bulk of the volume at this strike consisted of newly opened positions. This option now carries open interest of 2,317 contracts.
Exploring ATML's sentiment backdrop, the Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) rests at a meager 0.10, meaning that calls outnumber puts by 10 to one among options slated to expire within three months. This ratio ranks in the 6th percentile of its annual range, confirming that short-term options players have been more bullishly oriented toward the stock just 6% of the time over the past year.
What's more, ATML's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio stands at a whopping 197, indicating that calls bought to open have outnumbered puts by 197 to one during the past couple of weeks. In fact, this ratio is just two percentage points shy of yearly peak, signaling that traders are snapping up bullish options over bearish at an almost annual-high pace.
From a technical perspective, ATML has lost more than 30% of its value year-to-date, and has underperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by almost 18% during the past 60 sessions. A look at the charts shows that the stock is once again trading below its 10-day and 20-day moving averages, the latter of which has not been surpassed since early November.
At last check, ATML is down about 0.8% and is trading at $8.51.