Options Bulls Blast AT&T Stock After Earnings

Options bulls are targeting the equity at an alarming rate

Deputy Editor
Jan 27, 2021 at 10:58 AM
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The shares of telecommunications giant AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) are up 0.9% at $30.04 at last check. The stock is brushing off broad market headwinds thanks to the telecommunications company's fourth-quarter earnings and revenue beat, in addition of to a greater-than-expected number of post-paid phone subscribers. But keeping a lid on upward momentum is a $1.35 billion lawsuit from Network Apps, a Seattle-based company that accused AT&T of stealing its patented "twinning" technology, which gave multiples smart devices the ability to synchronize.

Digging deeper, the security has been rejected by the $30 mark for much of the new year. Longer term, T sports a year-over-year deficit of 23.8%. Perhaps that's why nine of 15 brokerages in coverage maintain "hold" or "strong sell" ratings.

Optimism is prevalent in the options pits though. This is per the stock's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 4.24 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which stands in the highest percentile of the equity's annual range. This indicates long calls are being picked up at a faster-than-usual rate.  

Echoing the bullish sentiment is today's options pits, where calls are also ruling the roost. In the first hour of trading, over 56,000 calls have exchanged hands -- double the intraday average -- versus 19,000 puts. The most popular is the weekly 1/29 30-strike call, followed by the 29-strike call from the same series. 

With earnings out of the way, now looks like the right time to take advantage of T's next move with options. The security's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 29% sits in the relatively low 18th percentile of its annual range. In other words, the stock sports attractively priced premiums at the moment.


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