Options Traders React as Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI) Sets eSports Viewership Record

Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) is trying to keep its hot streak alive after announcing record viewership for its competitive gaming event

Apr 12, 2016 at 10:33 AM
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In mid-February, video game producer Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) delivered disappointing earnings, and analysts punished the stock, sending the shares spiraling. Since its post-earnings low of $26.49, though, ATVI has rebounded over 25%, thanks to support from its rising 20-day moving average. However, the stock is currently down 0.7% to trade at $33.19, despite the company announcing record eSports viewership for its Major League Gaming’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship, with 1.6 million concurrent viewers. Based on what we're seeing in the options arena, traders are responding.

Daily Chart of ATVI

Taking a quick step back, short-term traders have been focusing on puts, as evidenced by ATVI's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.21. This SOIR is just 2 percentage points from an annual high, meaning traders targeting options that expire within three months are much more put-skewed than normal. Things are a bit different today, however, with calls being exchanged at triple the expected intraday rate, and buy-to-open activity detected at the weekly 4/22 34-strike call.

At the same time, short sellers have been moving away from the stock, according to data from the most recent reporting period. Specifically, short interest fell by 10.3% in the latest two-week period, after rising dramatically in prior reporting periods

Elsewhere, while analysts trimmed their expectations on Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) following the firm's earnings miss in February, most brokerage firms have remained firmly committed to the video game stock. In fact, all but one of the 15 analysts tracking ATVI recommends buying the shares, and none deem them a "sell." 

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