Pre-Earnings Option Activity Accelerates on Google Inc (GOOGL)

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) will report second-quarter earnings after Thursday's close

by Karee Venema

Published on Jul 14, 2015 at 3:25 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is flying this afternoon -- up 2.9% -- after the tech titan unveiled how the company is performing more efficiently, including slowing its pace of hiring. Also helping boost the stock is a price-target hike to $710 from $614 at B. Riley -- territory yet to be charted.

Today's positive price action has sparked a rush of activity in the equity's options pits, with overall volume running a two times the intraday pace. What's more, front-month contracts are in high demand, as speculators scramble to place bets on the equity's end-of-week trajectory -- a time frame which includes GOOGL's second-quarter earnings report, due after Thursday's close.

GOOGL's July 600 call has seen the most action, and it appears new positions are possibly being purchased for a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $4.55. If traders are indeed buying the calls to open, the goal is for the stock to rally north of $604.55 (strike plus VWAP) by this Friday's close, when the series expires.

Put players, meanwhile, have set their sights on the July 565 strike, where buy-to-open activity has been detected. The VWAP for the out-of-the-money put is $4.28, making breakeven $560.72 (strike less VWAP). Regardless of where the stock settles the week, though, the most either group of option buyers has on the line is the initial premium paid.

Outside of the options pits, the brokerage bunch has taken an upbeat approach to GOOGL. Of the 27 analysts covering the shares, 22 maintain a "buy" or better rating, with not a single "sell" to be found. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $638.90 represents an expected move to record highs.

Technically speaking, the shares have tacked on 11% year-to-date, but recent rally attempts have stalled out in the $590 region. Today, in fact, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) topped out at an intraday peak of $589.71, and was last seen lingering near $588.50.

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