Private Prison Stock Sinking on Warren Reform Proposal

Options bulls swarmed OSTK stock after the firm said it was selling its e-tail arm

by Lillian Currens

Published on Jun 21, 2019 at 3:23 PM
Updated on Oct 16, 2019 at 2:49 PM

The Dow is flirting with a new all-time high today as energy stock Chevron (CVX) surges alongside oil prices. Two stocks also in the spotlight today are e-tailer Inc (NASDAQ:OSTK) and private prison name CoreCivic Inc (NYSE:CXW). Here's a look at what's moving the shares of OSTK and CXW.

OSTK Stock Bounces Back on Blockchain Buzz

OSTK's CEO Patrick Byrne told CNN Business that "two very attractive acquirers" have taken interest in purchasing the company's retail business, as it turns its focus squarely to blockchain. The equity is 12.4% higher at $11.29, pacing for its best day in over a month. 

Today's surge follows a tough month on the charts for OSTK. Recent resistance from the 20-day moving average had the equity hitting a six-year low of $8.96 earlier in the month, followed by even more downward pressure at its 10-day trendline. The equity has managed three straight closes atop both regions this week.

Options bulls are piling on amid the blockchain chatter, with 388,000 calls across the tape so far, 12 times the norm. It looks as if positions are being purchased at the in-the-money June 11 call, which expires later today. Considerable activity is taking place around the July 12.50 call too, indicating that traders are speculating on even more upside for the stock in the weeks ahead.

CXW Stock Plummets on Proposed Private Prison Ban 

Private prison stocks are shrinking back amid Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren's proposal to ban privately owned jails and detention centers, including CoreCivic, which has suffered a 6.3% loss to trade at $22.31 so far today. The equity's bear gap follows an eight-month high of $24.38, hit earlier this week, and has the stock pacing for its first close below the 30-day moving average since early April. 

Despite its recent spike, options traders have been picking up bearish positions at a much quicker-than-usual clip. CXW's 10-day put/call volume ratio 0.87 on the the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This ratio sits in the 74th percentile of its annual range. Adding to this, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.19 sits in the 89th percentile of its annual range, indicating that short-term option players have rarely been more put heavy.

Options players are upping the bearish ante today, too. While total volume is relatively light, the 319 put contracts that have exchanged hands so far are three times the expected intraday amount. The most popular put contract is the in-the-money June 23 put.




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