Options Traders In Trouble as JetBlue, Spirit Stocks Near Key Levels

Despite underperforming, shares of JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU) and Spirit Airlines Incorporated (SAVE) are being met with optimism among options traders

Feb 8, 2017 at 2:32 PM
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The CEOs of several major airlines will meet with President Donald Trump tomorrow, but American Airlines Group Inc's (NASDAQ:AAL) Doug Parker will not be in attendance, due to a scheduling conflict. Meanwhile, several airline stocks are approaching critical technical levels, including JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ:JBLU) and Spirit Airlines Incorporated (NASDAQ:SAVE). Below, we'll take a look at the turbulence both shares have encountered lately, as well as the surprising optimism being displayed by options traders.

JBLU got crushed yesterday, diving 3.3%, but has partially bounced back -- currently up 1.9% at $19.22. A closer look at the charts reveals the stock is in dangerous territory. After pulling back from the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement of their late-2015 through mid-2016 sell-off, the shares briefly found a double-barreled foothold near the round $20 level and 38.2% retracement level. As you can see below, however, JBLU has breached that supportive area, potentially signaling an extended decline:

jetblue airways stock weekly chart fibonacci retracement

That said, options traders have remained upbeat, buying to open more than 13 calls for every put during the past 10 weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). The resultant call/put volume ratio of 13.16 ranks just 12 percentage points from a 52-week high. A capitulation among bullish options traders could translate into more headwinds for JetBlue Airways Corporation stock.

Turning to SAVE, the shares are getting hammered for a second straight day. Yesterday, the stock dropped on disappointing preliminary January passenger data, and it's down another 3% today at $52.42, pressured by a price-target cut to $62 at Morgan Stanley. Taking a closer look, the shares have been waffling between the 38.2% and 50% Fibonacci retracement levels of their late-2014 high and late-2015 low, but are currently near the lower end of that range:

spirit airlines stock chart fibonacci retracement levels

As with its sector peer, though, Spirit Airlines Incorporated has seen optimism among options traders. The airline stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio is 4.73, with long calls nearly quintupling puts, albeit amid relatively low absolute volume. Moreover, this ratio checks in above 67% of all readings from the past year. From a contrarian perspective, further losses stemming from a breach of the 38.2% retracement could send option bulls to the exits -- and potentially exacerbate technical pressure on SAVE shares.

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