BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) Breakout Fires Up Call Traders

BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) will report earnings Friday morning

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Dec 15, 2015 at 1:50 PM

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is getting a major boost from news that its QNX Software Systems unit has formed a partnership with Luxoft Holding Inc (NYSE:LXFT) to "enable semiautonomous driving." At last check, BBRY is 4.7% higher at $7.93, while its calls are changing hands at twice the usual intraday rate -- with 8-strike calls accounting for four of the five most active options.

Over the past two weeks, though, traders have been buying to open BBRY puts over calls at an accelerated clip. Specifically, the stock's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio is 0.80 -- above 92% of all other readings from the past year.

Digging deeper, during that same time frame, the strike seeing the biggest change in open interest was the December 8.50 put, where nearly 13,400 contracts were added. On top of that, nearly 9,700 of these contracts were bought to open at the out-of-the-money BBRY strike.

Option traders are far from the only ones bearish toward BBRY. For one, 15% of the stock's float is sold short -- representing 16.4 days' worth of trading activity, at typical volumes. For another, 14 of 18 analysts rate the shares a "hold" or worse.

That said, if BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) has a few more sessions like today, these skeptics may be forced to hit the exits -- potentially creating a tailwind. One upcoming opportunity for the stock to put bears on the ropes is this Friday morning, when the company reports third-quarter earnings.

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