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Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD - 2.85) has charged nearly 19% higher since the start of the year, and a group of option traders on Friday placed bets the stock will continue this upward momentum. Of the roughly 32,000 calls that crossed the tape, nearly 12,200 did so at AMD's February 3 strike. The majority of these went off at the ask price, implied volatility rose 4.3 percentage points, and open interest increased over the weekend, pointing to buy-to-open activity.
By purchasing these out-of-the-money calls to open for a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.13, traders will begin to profit with each step north of $3.13 (strike price plus the VWAP) AMD takes through the close on Friday, Feb. 15, when front-month options expire. This breakeven mark represents a 9.8% premium to the equity's current perch.
Friday's bullishly skewed slant among near-term traders is just more of the same, per the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.42. Not only does this show that call open interest more than doubles put open interest among options expiring in three months or less, but it ranks in the 35th percentile of its annual range. In other words, short-term speculators are more call-heavy than usual toward AMD.
The optimism toward the stock isn't all that surprising, given that AMD has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 36 percentage points over the past 40 sessions. Additionally, the equity has recently found a foothold atop its 10-week moving average, which has ushered AMD higher since mid-December.
Despite this upward momentum, bulls should beware that the stock has found a formidable technical foe in the $3 neighborhood. This looming round-number level has served as a layer of resistance in recent months, and has not allowed a daily close above it since Oct. 11. Should this mark continue to cap AMD's upward momentum, the most Friday's call buyers stand to lose is the initial premium paid.