MLM Makes Move Higher After Major Acquisition

Tailwinds could come from a shift in sentiment amongst options traders and analysts

Assistant Editor
May 24, 2021 at 10:47 AM
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Martin Marietta Materials Inc (NYSE:MLM) is in the spotlight today, after news broke that the construction materials company is acquiring HeidelbergCement's U.S. affiliate Lehigh Hanson Inc's West Region business for $2.3 billion in cash. After the deal, Martin Marietta will attain 17 active quarries and two cement plants. At last check, MLM was up 1.2% to trade at $366.71. 

On the charts, Martin Marietta stock has been carving out a path of fresh record highs, with pullbacks captured by the 50-day moving average since May 2020. Most recently, however, the equity has faltered a bit after its May 10 all-time high of $383.71. Year-over-year, the security is up an impressive 104.4%. 

Despite the positive price action, there is still plenty of room for upgrades amongst the brokerage bunch. Of the 12 in coverage, eight carry a tepid "hold" rating on MLM. 

Meanwhile, the options pits have been much more bearish than usual. This is per Martin Marietta stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 2.05 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This ratio stands higher than 84% of readings from the past year, showing puts being picked up at a faster-than-usual rate. 

That said, speculating on the security's next move with options could be a prudent play. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 26% stands higher than just 12% of all other readings in its annual range, implying that options players are pricing in low volatility expectations at the moment. 

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