Call Buyers Pile on Riot Blockchain Stock

RIOT is still down big in 2018

Managing Editor
Jul 24, 2018 at 2:17 PM
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Bitcoin, the enigmatic cryptocurrency that took 2017 by storm, is rising today, up past the $8,000 mark and already boasting a 20% lead this week. As a result, biotech-turned-blockchainer Riot Blockchain Inc (NASDAQ:RIOT) is up 26.2% to trade at $8.21 today, near the top of the Nasdaq. In response to this surge, options traders are coming out in droves.

Although it's been only two days, Riot Blockchain stock is now on track for its best week since December 2017. The equity is still staring at a 71% deficit for 2018 though, and remains well off its Dec. 19 annual high of $46.20. And despite today's surge, the shares are finding resistance at their 320-day moving average, a trendline that has been in place since mid-May.

RIOT Stock Chart

In the options pits, call buying has been prevalent. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) confirms this, with 9,084 calls traded in the past 10 days, compared to just 1,635 puts. 

Shifting gears to today reveals a similar call bias. Call volume has exploded, where more than 23,000 calls have been exchanged today so far-- seven times the intraday average and volume pacing for the 98th percentile of its annual range. Most active are the weekly 7/27 8- and 8.50-strike calls, with new positions being opened, indicating options traders are banking on RIOT's rally to continue through the end of the week, when the options expire. 

Yet the 3.09 million shares sold short represents a whopping 45% of RIOT's total available float, and almost two weeks of pent-up buying power. As such, some short sellers maybe using call options to hedge against further upside.

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