General Electric Stock Drops on Pension Freeze Plans

GE call buying has been hot in recent weeks

Oct 7, 2019 at 9:59 AM
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General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) stock is down 0.4% at $8.54, after the industrial conglomerate said it would freeze pension plans for around 20,000 salaried U.S. employees. The move comes as part of the company's broader plan to lower its pension deficit by up to $8 billion.

It's been a rough stretch for GE since a late-September rejection at its 200-day moving average, with the shares down more than 10%. The security has more recently stabilized in the $8.41 region -- home to a 23.6% Fibonacci retracement of its sell-off from its July peak near $10.80 to its mid-August low at $7.65.

In GE's options pits, speculators have been loading up on long calls in recent weeks. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.49 ranks in the 85th annual percentile, meaning calls have been bought to open over puts at a quicker-than-anticipated clip.

Drilling down, the October 9.50 call has seen a notable rise in open interest over this two-week time frame, with nearly 10,300 contracts added. Data from the major options exchanges confirms significant buy-to-open activity here, meaning speculators are betting on a breakout above $9.50 by front-month options expiration at the close next Friday, Oct. 16. For context, GE stock hasn't closed a week above $9.50 since Aug. 2.



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