Most Active Weekly Options: Google Inc. and Intel Corporation

Option traders are taking sides on Google Inc (GOOGL) and Intel Corporation (INTC)

Feb 2, 2015 at 1:50 PM
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The 20 stocks listed in the table below are the names that have attracted the highest weekly options volume during the past 10 trading days. Those highlighted are new to the list since the last time the study was run, and data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. Among the stocks garnering attention lately are search titan Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and blue-chip tech concern Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC).

Most Active Weekly Options Table

On the charts, GOOGL was last seen 1.8% lower at $527.88. The stock touched an annual low of $490.91 on Jan. 12, and despite a positive earnings reaction last week, is now struggling to conquer its formerly supportive 80-day moving average.

Daily Chart of GOOGL since June 2014 with 80-Day Moving Average

In the options pits, GOOGL puts are trading at a faster-than-usual intraday clip, with buy-to-open activity detected at the weekly 2/6 520 strike. By purchasing the contracts to open, the buyers expect GOOGL to breach $520 by Friday's close, when the options expire.

Now is an opportune time to place short-term bets on GOOGL. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) rests at an annual low of 20%, suggesting the equity's near-term contracts are attractively priced, from a historical standpoint.

However, calls have been the options of choice among buyers on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). The equity's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.02 indicates that speculators have purchased more than two Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) calls for every put during the past 10 sessions.

INTC was last seen 0.9% higher at $33.32, after the firm said it's buying home networking specialist Lantiq from Golden Gate Capital for an undisclosed amount. After flirting with decade-plus highs in early December, the stock has since taken a breather to test long-time support at its 200-day moving average. What's more, the security's 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) now sits at 30 -- in oversold territory, suggesting a short-term bounce may have been in the cards.

Daily Chart of INTC since July 2013 with 200-Day Moving Average

Put buying has picked up steam on INTC over the past 10 weeks. The stock's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 0.99 sits just 6 percentage points from a 52-week peak. Likewise, the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.10 sits higher than three-quarters of all other readings from the past year, suggesting near-term traders are more put-biased than usual.

In the weekly 2/6 series, peak put open interest rests at the 34 strike, with close to 4,200 contracts outstanding. In the front-month series, the February 30 put has grown increasingly popular, with roughly 8,000 contracts added during the past two weeks. Still, the at-the-money February 33 strike is home to peak put open interest, with more than 24,000 contracts in residence.

Should Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) once again bounce off its 200-day moving average, a return to new-high territory could shake loose some of the weaker bearish hands. A mass exodus of option bears -- or a round of upgrades from the 15 analysts maintaining "hold" or worse opinions -- could translate into added upside for the Dow component.


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