The Buy Signal on This Oil Stock Hasn't Been Wrong in 3 Years

It's an attractive time to bet on MPC with options

Sep 14, 2017 at 10:50 AM
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Oil prices have been rising this week -- with October-dated futures trading above the $50-per-barrel mark today, after getting a boost yesterday on the International Energy Agency's (IEA) upwardly revised 2017 global oil demand forecast. While oil refiner Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:MPC) is trading down 0.6% at $52.90 this morning, the energy stock recently pulled back to a historically bullish trendline, suggesting it could be an ideal time to bet on its next leg higher.

Specifically, MPC shares recently came within one standard deviation of their 200-day moving average after spending a lengthy time above this trendline. According to data from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White, in the three other times this signal has flashed in the past three years, the stock has gone on to average a 21-day gain of 10.36%, boasting a 100% win rate. Based on the equity's current perch, this would put MPC in the $58.38 region -- territory not charted since December 2015.

mpc stock daily chart 9_14

The stock could also find support near $52.50 -- home to peak put open interest of nearly 8,000 contracts in the soon-to-be front-month October series. Heavy levels of underfoot put open interest can often create an options-related floor for a security, as the hedges related to the bets unwind ahead of expiration.

Now appears to be an attractive time to buy premium on MPC options, too. The stock's 30-day at-the-money implied volatility of 23.9% ranks in the 11th annual percentile, indicating low volatility expectations are being priced into short-term contracts.

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