2 Blue Chips Flirting With Key Market Caps, Call Strikes

Ahead of an eventful June, here's our take on two of the Dow's $200B stocks

by Bernie Schaeffer

Published on Jun 5, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Updated on Jun 5, 2018 at 7:00 AM

It's safe to say stock traders did not, in fact, "Sell in May and go away" this year, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) and its index peers notching monthly wins. That's not to say Wall Street is out of the woods, yet, though, as the month of June has been notoriously weak for the broad-market indices, not to mention we have a few macro events that could shake things up, including: the lingering possibility of a June 12 summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un; the June 13 Fed policy announcement, where the central bank is widely expected to raise rates; and a June 22 meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Countries (OPEC), where the cartel could come to a decision about oil production caps. And I'd be remiss not to remind you that the global tariff "merry-go-round" could continue to play a role in stocks' summer trajectory.

So, as we turn the collective calendar page to June, let's "read the tea leaves" on a pair of Dow stocks that are currently flirting with round-number market caps and noteworthy levels, and see what their front-month open interest configurations could tell us about near-term price action.

Home Depot (HD) was not excluded from the early February stock market correction, falling from its Jan. 29 record high of $207.60. However, the equity's drop was ultimately contained in late March by its 200-day moving average, which coincided at the time with HD's $200 billion market cap. This area also represented a 50% Fibonacci retracement of HD's rally from its August lows to the aforementioned January peak.

HD closed last week at $187.35 -- within striking distance of its year-to-date breakeven of $189.53. From an options perspective, the blue chip is staring up at peak front-month call open interest at the June 190 strike, too, which is home to nearly 7,400 contracts outstanding. The overhead June 195 and 200 calls hold the second- and third-most open interest, respectively, among front-month HD strikes, and this abundance of calls overhead could act as an added layer of options-related resistance in the short term.

HD chart for June 3 CotW

Verizon Communications (VZ) stock has been struggling with the $200 billion market cap all month, and this area has been a point of contention for years. The shares' 160-day moving average has also kept VZ gains in check since February, and this trendline recently made a "death cross" with its 80-day counterpart. The last time that happened -- back in early 2017 -- it preceded a sell-off to nearly two-year lows for VZ. However, the equity's late-2016 lows have come into play as support in the $46 area.

VZ finished Friday at $47.81. In the short term, any round-number resistance in the $50 area could be exacerbated by peak call open interest at the June 50 strike, where nearly 33,000 contracts reside. The June 52.50 and 55 strikes are also home to notable call open interest, with the strikes hosting about 25,000 and 27,000 calls outstanding. Between these two strikes, meanwhile, lies Verizon's year-to-date breakeven level of $52.93, while the $51.50 area contained the security's rally attempts in late April, before an official merger announcement between Sprint and T-Mobile took the wind out of the telecom's sails.

VZ chart for June 3 CotW

Subscribers to Bernie Schaeffer's Chart of the Week received this commentary on Sunday, June 3.

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