Option Bears Feel the Sting of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) Rally

Short-term Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY) traders have rarely been as put-heavy as they are now

Jan 12, 2015 at 11:06 AM
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Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) is up 4.4% at $62.98 -- and earlier tagged a fresh 14-year peak of $64.44 -- on news the company's lung cancer drug, Opdivo, met the endpoint goals of its late-stage trial. Today's price action is being met with a rush of call activity in the equity's options pits, with the contracts trading at nearly six times the average intraday pace -- a scenario that runs counter to the withstanding trend.

Specifically, the equity's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.60 ranks in the bearishly skewed 67th annual percentile. Even more telling is BMY's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.21, which ranks just 4 percentage points from a 52-week peak. Simply stated, short-term speculators have rarely been as put-skewed toward BMY as they are now.

Technically speaking, BMY has been in rally mode since hitting its most recent low of $47.54 in mid-October, with the shares up more than 32%. Therefore, it's entirely possible that a portion of the recent put buying is a result of shareholders protecting their paper profits against a pullback. Regardless, the equity's near-term options are currently pricing in lofty volatility expectations, per BMY's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 38%, which ranks higher than all similar readings taken in the past year.

Should Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) extend its positive momentum, a round of upgrades and/or price-target hikes could help fuel the stock's fire. At present, 47% of covering analysts maintain a "hold" or "strong sell" suggestion, while the average 12-month price target of $57.21 stands at a discount to current trading levels.

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