2 Surging Stocks Seeing Explosive Options Volume

PBI bulls are betting on more short-term gains

Feb 22, 2019 at 2:57 PM
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The Dow is sailing toward its longest weekly win streak in 23 years on hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal. Among individual stocks making notable moves are shipping specialist Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI), biopharmaceutical firm Amarin Corporation (NASDAQ:AMRN), and Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL). Here's a quick look at what's moving the shares of PBI, ARMN, and GOOGL.

PBI Gets a Lift on STMP Woes

The shares of Pitney Bowes are trading up 14.7% at $8.06, after rival mailing company Stamps.com (STMP) said it is ending its partnership with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). PBI stock is now up 46.3% from its late-December low of $5.51, but is still staring up at the $8.40-$8.50 region -- home to its fourth-quarter highs.

Today's bull gap is has sparked heavy PBI options trading, with 18,349 calls on the tape -- 26 times what's typically seen, and call volume at a new annual high. By comparison, fewer than 850 puts have traded. Buy-to-open activity has been detected at the March 7, 8, and 9 calls, as speculators target even bigger gains for the equity over the next three weeks.

Buyout Buzz Boosts Amarin Stock

Takeover chatter is boosting Amarin stock today. The shares were last seen 16.9% higher at $20.37 as Wall Street eyes Swiss pharma giant Novartis (NVS) as a possible suitor for the Ireland-based drugmaker. Today's surge helped AMRN slice through recent congestion near $18, and puts the equity on track for its highest daily close since Nov. 9.

Amarin options volume is hot, too, with roughly 139,000 calls -- a new 12-month peak -- and 9,100 puts on the tape -- seven times the average intraday amount. The April 20 call is most active, with 35,057 contracts traded. It looks like some of the action is a result of one speculator rolling their March 13 calls up and out.

GOOGL Stock Set for Weekly Loss

Google will reportedly unveil new hardware for a game streaming service at next month's Game Developers Conference. This echoes recent headlines of a possible Apple (AAPL) video game subscription service, and has Alphabet stock up 0.7% at $1,112.48. Nevertheless, GOOGL stock is pacing toward a weekly loss, and a second straight close below its formerly supportive 20-day moving average.

Short-term options traders have rarely been more put-skewed toward GOOGL, per the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.09, which registers in the 97th annual percentile. The March 1,100 put is home to peak open interest, though data from Trade-Alert points to mostly sell-to-open activity here.



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