Twitter, Facebook Stocks Sink Amid Congressional Grilling

FB and TWTR executives testified in front of Congress today

Patrick Martin
Sep 5, 2018 at 2:52 PM
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The tech sector is struggling today, and social media giants Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) are getting hit especially hard. Driving the two stocks lower is a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing featuring testimony from Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey over the company's efforts to combat foreign attempts to influence U.S. politics.

Calls Still Reign Despite FB Slump

At last check, Facebook stock was down 2.3% to trade at $167.25. Sandberg conceded to Congress that the company was too slow to respond to to Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, but has vowed to do better in shutting down fake accounts. FB stock is currently mired in a three-day losing streak that has carried it below its year-to-date breakeven level.

In the options pits, though, call buying has remained all the rage. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), FB sports a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.44, which ranks in the 96th annual percentile. This indicates a near-peak level of call buying relative to put buying in recent weeks.

TWTR Puts Popular Today

Twitter stock is faring worse on the charts, down 5.1% to trade at $33.08 --  one of the worst stocks on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) today, and on track for its worst single-day loss since July 30. Dorsey told the committee that Twitter has ramped up its efforts against fake accounts, shutting down 530,000 suspicious logins each day -- double from the amount detected a year ago.

Options bears have flocked to TWTR today at an accelerated rate. Over 60,000 puts have changed hands at last check, representing double the average intraday amount and pacing in the 92nd percentile of its annual range. Leading the charge among short-term options is the weekly 9/7 31-strike put, where 4,611 contracts have been exchanged, and new positions are being opened. This indicates options traders are banking on Twitter to extend its slide through the end of the week.

Traders wanting to speculate on Twitter stock's near-term trajectory can scoop up options at a relative bargain, too. Specifically, the security's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 41% ranks in the 13th annual percentile, showing extremely low volatility expectations are being priced into near-term options.

Furthermore, the social media concern has handily rewarded premium buyers in the past. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) stands at a lofty 97 out of a possible 100, meaning TWTR stock has consistently exceeded the volatility expectations priced into its options over the past 12 months.


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