Why Bullish Best Buy Co Inc (BBY) Traders Are Hardly in the Clear

Best Buy Co Inc (BBY) shares are rallying for once, after JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) disclosed a passive stake in the electronics retailer

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jan 26, 2016 at 2:26 PM

Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY) is one of several stocks rallying today on news of outside investments. Specifically, according to a recent filing, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) has taken an 8.1% passive stake in the electronics retailer. As a result, BBY was last seen 3.4% higher at $28.

This is bound to lift the spirits of option bulls. During the past 10 weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), BBY has racked up a call/put volume ratio of 1.58, with long calls outpacing puts. What's more, this ratio ranks above 84% of all other readings from the prior year.

These bettors aren't necessarily optimistic, though. During the latest reporting period, short interest edged up 5.7%, and now accounts for nearly one-tenth of BBY's total float. At the stock's average daily volumes, it would take nearly eight sessions to repurchase these positions. In other words, it's possible short sellers are buying out-of-the-money calls to act as upside protection.

It's hard to fault these investors for betting bearishly on Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY). Since their most recent high of $39.10 in mid-September, the shares have surrendered more than 28% of their value. In fact, as recently as Jan. 15, the stock hit an annual low of $25.31. Should this downtrend resume, an unwinding of optimism among "vanilla" call buyers could exacerbate BBY's losses.

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