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Commodity concern Kinross Gold Corporation (KGC - 11.91) was heavily targeted by call traders yesterday, thanks to mounting buyout buzz. Specifically, analysts at both CIBC World Markets and Paradigm speculated that rising costs and key delays have weighed on KGC's market value, making the Canadian miner a potential takeover target.
In light of the rumors, the shares of KGC muscled notably higher yesterday, topping their 10-day moving average for the first time in nearly two weeks. What's more, the security saw roughly 26,000 calls change hands -- about twice its average daily call volume, and around nine times the number of KGC puts exchanged.
Digging deeper into the data, we find a batch of new bets at the out-of-the-money March 12 call, which saw open interest climb by close to 11,000 contracts overnight. Plus, the majority of the back-month calls crossed closer to the ask price, suggesting they were bought. By purchasing the 12-strike calls to open, the buyers are expecting KGC to power north of the $12 level -- possibly as the result of a takeover offer -- within the next couple of months.
From a broader sentiment standpoint, however, it seems the short-term options crowd is actually more put-heavy than usual on KGC at the moment. In fact, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.37 stands higher than 66% of all others taken during the past year, implying that near-term options traders have favored puts over calls by a wider margin just one-third of the time.
In early trading, KGC has continued its ascent, jumping 5.7% to wink at the $11.91 level.