Call Traders Pile on PayPal Stock Amid Cryptocurrency Buzz

PayPal is nearing its September all-time highs

Assistant Editor
Oct 21, 2020 at 10:30 AM
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The shares of PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) are up 3.2% at $208.35 at last check, after the digital payment company launched its cryptocurrency service. Starting today, PayPal customers can "buy, sell and hold bitcoin and other virtual coins using its online wallets." To follow, Barclays hiked up PYPL's price target to $235 from $228, citing positive third-quarter expectations, and COVID-19-related tailwinds as e-commerce growth continues. 

Out of the gate, PayPal stock shot up to $211.25, a chip-shot from its Sept. 2 record high of $212.45. PYPL bounced off its 100-day moving average back in mid-September, and is up 14.3% in the last month as well as 93.1% year-to-date. 

The brokerage bunch is quite confident on the security, with 28 of the 32 analysts in coverage at a "buy" or better rating, with the remaining four a "hold," and no sells or worse in sight. Meanwhile, the 12-month consensus price target was $220.49 coming into today -- a 5% premium to current levels. 

The cryptocurrency buzz has options bulls flocking to PYPL today, with 65,000 calls across the tape so far -- seven times what's typically seen at this point and pacing for the highest volume percentage in the past year. Most popular by far is the weekly 10/23 215-strike call, expiring at the end of this week, and where new positions are being opened. 

Other than the amount of sheer volume, today's bullish options activity isn't unusual for PayPal stock as of late. PYPL's 10-day call put volume ratio of 5.41 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) sits higher than 98% of readings from the past year, meaning calls have been picked up at a much faster-than-usual rate in the last couple weeks. 

Furthermore, the equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) sits at the 75 out of 100. This means the stock has greatly exceeded option traders' volatility expectations during the past year -- a boon for options buyers.

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