Buy Premium on This Bank Stock Ahead of Earnings

Short-term BAC options remain attractively priced, even with earnings on the horizon

Managing Editor
Jan 16, 2018 at 12:15 PM
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Bank earnings are back in focus this week, and financial institution Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) is expected to report its fourth-quarter earnings before the market open tomorrow, Jan. 17. Below, we take a look at how BAC stock has been faring ahead of its highly anticipated report, and how options traders expect the bank shares to react.

Bank of America stock has had a decent year, picking up more than 38% over the past nine months alone. BAC was last seen up 0.4% at $31.33, just off a fresh eight-year high of $31.79, as financial stocks react to a solid earnings showing from Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C). 

In terms of earnings reactions, BAC stock's post-earnings moves have been mostly positive over the last eight quarters, closing higher the day after five of those reports. The shares averaged a swing of 1.3% in either direction in the session after reporting. This time around, the options market is pricing in a bigger-than-usual 2.7% move for tomorrow's trading, per at-the-money implied volatility data.

Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) is showing BAC with a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 5.91, ranking in the 94th percentile of its annual range. This suggests call buying has been extremely accelerated compared to put buying during the past two weeks, indicating options buyers are anticipating an upside earnings reaction for the shares.

Even with a potential volatility catalyst on the horizon, the security's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 22% is ranked lower than 78% of all comparable readings taken in the past year, meaning relatively low volatility expectations are being priced into near-term contracts. In other words, it's an attractive time to buy premium on short-term Bank of America stock options, too. 


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