Airline Stock Draws Bull Note on Upbeat Forecast

Overall options volume is running at four times the intraday average

Digital Content Manager
Jan 18, 2023 at 11:08 AM
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United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:UAL) is enjoying some tailwinds this morning, following a price-target hike from Barclays to $52 from $45. This bull note came after the company said it expects full-year profits to quadruple this year, amid strong demand for travel. At last check, UAL is up 1.6% to trade at $52.04.

The security has been in rally mode over the past couple of weeks, and earlier notched a one-year high of $53.26, as it eyes its ninth win in 10 sessions. United Airlines stock conquered the 20-day moving average to kick off the year, and has added 30.6% in the last three months. 

The brokerage bunch is optimistic, with 10 of the 17 analysts in coverage rating UAL a "buy" or better. Meanwhile, short interest is up 17.4% in the last two reporting periods, and makes up 5.5% of the equity's available float, leaving it ripe for a short squeeze.

Overall options volume is today running at four times the intraday average, with 49,000 calls and 33,000 puts across the tape so far. The January 2023 53-strike call is seeing the most action, with positions being opened there, followed by the 55-strike call in that series.

That penchant for bullish bets is far from being the norm. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), UAL's 10-day put/call volume ratio sits higher than 84% of annual readings. In other words, puts have been much more popular than usual.

Options look like a solid way to take advantage of United Airlines stock's next move, per its Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 44% that sits higher than just 7% of readings from the past year. In simpler terms, options traders are pricing in low volatility expectations.  


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