Stocks quoted in this article:
Three of today's most actively traded large-cap stocks among the options crowd are online retailer Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN - 250.13), networking giant Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO - 19.02), and automaker Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F - 11.45). Here's a quick look at some interesting activity in these option pits today.
AMZN speculators are targeting the stock's weekly options today, with the Nov. 30 250-strike call emerging as the center of attention. A total of 4,589 contracts have traded here so far, with a slim majority crossing the tape closer to the ask price. There are only 2,238 contracts in residence at the soon-to-expire 250 call, so it seems safe to say that new positions are being opened here today. Based on the option's volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $1.56, call buyers will begin to see profits if AMZN surmounts breakeven at $251.56 before tomorrow's closing bell.
CSCO was the subject of a straddle spread earlier today, as one volatility trader simultaneously bought 934 contracts each at the stock's December 19 put and December 19 call. The contracts cost $0.37 each, or $0.74 for each put/call pair -- which means the trader will begin to profit on a move above $19.74, or a drop below $18.26, prior to front-month expiration.
Call volume on F has jumped to two times the norm today, with roughly 83,000 contracts changing hands so far (compared to only about 29,000 puts). In the front-month series, speculators have set their sights on the December 12 call. Approximately 23,800 contracts have crossed at this strike, with two-thirds trading closer to the ask price. There are already 46,265 contracts in open interest at this popular call strike, but intraday data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE) indicates the addition of still more bullish bets in today's action.
The 20 stocks below have attracted the highest options volume -- in the front three-months' series -- during the past two weeks. Data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White.