Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Call Buyers Aim for End-of-Week Upside

Tesla Motors Inc's (TSLA) deal with Irvine Co. has the automaker's stock in rally mode

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Oct 13, 2015 at 11:25 AM

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has caught fire today, up 2.4% at $220.70 -- as it attempts to fight back into positive year-to-date territory. The rally may have been sparked by news that Orange County's biggest landlord, Irvine Co., will install TSLA battery systems at over one dozen of its properties. Regardless, option bulls are welcoming the upside with open arms.

Activity in TSLA's options pits is accelerated today, especially on the call side -- where contracts are trading at 1.4 times the normal midday rate. Possibly seeing buy-to-open activity are the October 220 and 225 strikes, as short-term bettors roll the dice on more end-of-week gains for the stock.

Today's appetite for bullish bets over bearish represents a break from the trend witnessed over the past few months. Specifically, at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), TSLA has amassed a 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.00 -- in the 71st percentile of its 52-week range. In other words, traders have been buying to open puts over calls at a faster-than-usual clip.

Short sellers, too, have been upping the bearish ante. A lofty 26% of TSLA's float is dedicated to short interest -- an amount that would take more than one week to buy back, at average daily trading levels.

A look at the charts helps us make sense of this prevailing skepticism. While sharply higher today, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been reeling since its most recent peak of $271.57 on Sept. 21, down close to 19%.

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