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Bulls Climb Aboard as Ford Chugs Higher

F calls have seen a rush of buy-to-open activity in recent months

by 12/17/2012 12:04 PM
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Calls have been popular on Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F - 11.29) in recent months, per data at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). The stock's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 3.97 ranks in the 76th percentile of its annual range. In other words, calls have been accumulated over puts at a faster-than-usual clip throughout the past 10 weeks.

It's a trend that's continuing in today's session, as call volume is more than doubling put volume. By the numbers, around 22,000 calls have crossed the tape, compared to around 9,300 puts. While F's December 11.50-strike call is once again a popular bet, weekly option players are setting their sights higher by scooping up the 1/4 12-strike call. Of the roughly 1,200 contracts traded, 84% have crossed at the ask price and implied volatility has tacked on 1 percentage point, hinting at buy-to-open activity.

By initiating these bullish bets, traders expect F to rally above $12.08 (the strike plus the volume-weighted average price [VWAP] of $0.08) by the close on Friday, Jan. 4 -- at which point these options will expire. This breakeven level is a 7% premium to F's current perch. Should the stock fail to topple this mark, though, the most the call buyers stand to lose is the initial premium paid.

On the charts, F has put in a solid performance in the latter half of 2012, with the shares bouncing roughly 28% off their year-to-date low of $8.82 -- tagged on Aug. 2. The equity has also found a firm foothold atop its 10-week moving average, which has contained all of F's recent pullbacks.

In today's session, F has moved 1.7% higher after it was reported the automaker's hybrid C-MAX model outpaced its competitors at launch, selling more than 8,000 vehicles in the first two months. At last check, F was hovering in the $11.29 neighborhood.


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