2 FAANG Stocks to Watch After Today's Net Neutrality Vote

Short-term calls are attractively priced on both GOOGL and NFLX

Dec 14, 2017 at 11:29 AM
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Tech stocks, and in particular, those with exposure to the internet, are in focus today, with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expected to repeal the Obama administration's net neutrality rules. Ahead of the highly controversial decision, Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and streaming giant Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) are both trading higher, continuing to bounce back after the recent tech selloff. Here's a closer look at the two FAANG stocks heading into the new year.

The Tech Stock With Cheap Call Options

Alphabet shares were last seen trading up 1.3% at $1,064.67 -- not far from its Nov. 28 record high of $1,080. After hitting this milestone, the tech stock pulled back amid broader headwinds, but found a foothold atop its rising 50-day moving average. This trendline served as resistance from late July through September, but now appears to have switched to a more supportive role.

GOOGL is now pacing toward a 34% 2017 return, though an annual gain of such magnitude is hardly new for the stock. In 2015, GOOG surged 46.61%, and in 2013, the equity added 58.43%. In fact, the shares doubled in value in both 2005 and 2009.

Options traders are split on Alphabet, too, with 139,548 puts and 133,372 calls currently open. This represents elevated interest in GOOGL, though, considering total open interest is docked in the 89th annual percentile. As a point of reference, Google's open interest topped out at a 12-month peak of 315,599 contracts on July 28, when 157,903 puts and 157,696 calls were outstanding.

Now appears to be a good time for bargain-hunting options traders to target short-term GOOGL calls. While the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 16% ranks in the 31st annual percentile -- indicating low volatility expectations are being priced into near-term contracts -- its 30-day implied volatility (IV) skew of 13% ranks higher than 80% of comparable readings taken in the past year. In other words, calls are cheap at the moment, relative to puts.

Options Trading Nears Peak on Netflix Stock

Netflix shares are up 2.1% at $191.83, rising after Walt Disney (DIS) agreed to purchase assets from Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA). NFLX stock recently took a strong bounce off familiar support at its 120-day moving average after pulling back from its Oct. 17 record high of $204.38, and is now boasting a 54% year-to-date advance.

Big annual returns have become par for the course for Netflix, too. In 2015, the streaming stock surged 134.38% over the course of the year, and quadrupled in value in 2003. It's loftiest annualized return came in 2003, when it surged 396.73% during its first full year of trading.

As with GOOGL, interest in Netflix options is at an extreme -- with puts and calls in a dead heat. Currently, 499,913 puts and 439,526 calls are open on NFLX, with total open interest ranked in the 97th annual percentile. This metric topped out at a 12-month high on Oct. 20, when 1.01 million NFLX options were outstanding.

Call options are an attractive choice for premium buyers, too, per NFLX's 30-day IV skew of 12.5% -- which ranks higher than 98% of all comparable readings taken in the past year. Meanwhile, Netflix stock's SVI of 38% arrives in the 30th percentile of its annual range, pointing to relatively muted short-term volatility expectations.


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