Sprint Corp (S) Asset Sale Turns Up Heat on Option Bulls

Sprint Corp (S) is staring up at its year-to-date breakeven level and its 120-day trendline

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Apr 7, 2016 at 10:40 AM

Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) announced a $2.2 billion agreement in which it will sell a number of its network assets to Network LeaseCo and lease them back. Traders apparently aren't too keen on the deal, as the stock was last seen 2.1% lower at $3.52. Sprint shareholders aren't the only ones feeling the pain today, as options speculators have been unusually bullish of late.

During the last two weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), options traders have bought to open nearly 33 S calls for every put. The resultant 10-day call/put volume ratio of 32.65 ranks just 2 percentage points from an annual peak.

Calls have been very popular among short-term options traders, as well. S boasts a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.36, with call open interest nearly tripling put open interest. What's more, the SOIR sits south of 95% of readings taken in the past year.

Of course, not every call trader is necessarily a bull, especially considering the high levels of short interest on S. Specifically, close to 29% of the stock's float is sold short, which translates to 8.3 sessions' worth of trading activity, at typical levels. In other words, short sellers may be buying to open out-of-the-money calls to serve as upside protection.

As we saw earlier, Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) has taken it on the chin today, and is now slightly below its year-to-date breakeven level. In addition, the stock is perched just south of its descending 120-day moving average, so it could be looking up at double-barreled technical resistance.

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