Most Active Weekly Options: Apple Inc. and Facebook, Inc.

Short-term options traders are targeting Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Facebook Inc (FB)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Mar 5, 2015 at 2:01 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest total weekly options volume during the past 10 trading days. Names 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. Two names of notable interest are iPhone creator Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and social network Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB).

Most Active Weekly Options Table

AAPL is getting hit today by reports the company could delay the launch of its next iPad until September, and news last night that a U.S. judge has granted preliminary approval to a $415 million class action employee-poaching settlement. At last check, the shares were 1.7% lower at $126.35, but remain 14.5% higher on a year-to-date basis.

The weekly 3/6 series has been extremely active in AAPL's options pits today. In fact, nine of the 10 most active strikes will expire at tomorrow's close -- with plenty of opening activity to be found. Specifically, buy- and sell-to-open action is detected at the weekly 3/6 127-, 128-, 129-, and 130-strike calls, as traders gamble on the equity's end-of-week trajectory.

Short-term AAPL calls have been popular for some time. The security's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.66 registers in the 28th percentile of its annual range. In other words, call open interest has outweighed put open interest by a wider margin just 28% of the time in the last year, among options with a shelf-life of three months or less.

FB, meanwhile, is seeing heavier-than-usual doses of call trading this afternoon. The contracts are crossing at a 36% mark-up to the typical intraday rate, and more than double the number of puts on the tape. The stock's most active option is the weekly 3/6 82-strike call, which traders are buying to open in the hopes of a rally through $82 by tomorrow's closing bell -- when the series expires.

Taking a step back, speculators have been buying to open FB calls at a breakneck pace in recent weeks. The equity's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio sits at an annual high of 3.22. In other words, traders have never preferred bullish bets over bearish by a greater margin at any time in the past 12 months.

It's no wonder, either -- FB has been strong on the charts. The stock is up 0.6% this afternoon to wink at $81.37, putting it within striking distance of its record high of $82.17, touched in December. Also, week-to-date, the shares have tacked on more than 3%. Not surprisingly, analysts have been piling into FB's bullish bandwagon.


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