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Speculators Roll the Dice With Boyd Gaming Calls

Back-month call volume spikes on BYD

by 4/2/2012 11:00 AM
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Boyd Gaming Corporation (BYD - 7.92) saw a significant rise in bullish options activity on Friday, as roughly 3,500 calls changed hands, which was 10 times above the norm. Nearly 3,250 of these calls were traded at the near-the-money May 8 strike -- almost all of them at the ask price, pointing to buyer-driven volume. Open interest at this strike jumped by 3,242 contracts over the weekend, signaling a large influx of new positions. This option now carries peak call open interest of 3,249 contracts. In order for investors to collect a profit from these bought-to-open calls, the stock must ascend above the $8 mark by May expiration.

This jump in call volume is more of the same for the casino issue. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 29.90 for BYD, conveying that calls bought to open have outnumbered puts by almost 30 to one during the last two weeks. This ratio arrives in the 91st annual percentile, meaning that traders have been snapping up bullish options over bearish at a faster-than-usual pace.

However, although short interest on BYD declined by close to 7% during the most recent reporting period, these shorted shares still make up a hefty 20% of the equity's float. This could be an indicator that short sellers looking to hedge their bets are responsible for some of the recent call volume -- including Friday's activity at the May 8 strike.

Technical speaking, BYD has shed approximately 18% on a year-over-year basis. On the charts, the stock has been sandwiched between support at its 20-week moving average and resistance at its 10-week trendline for the past several weeks.

In the morning hours of trading, BYD is up about 1% to trade at $7.92.


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