Options Check-Up: Bitauto Holdings, Ford Motor, and Plug Power Inc.

Analyzing recent option activity on Bitauto Hldg Ltd (ADR) (BITA), Ford Motor Company (F), and Plug Power Inc (PLUG)

by Griffin Kruse

Published on Jan 15, 2015 at 8:42 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Among the stocks attracting attention from options traders lately are Beijing-based Internet issue Bitauto Hldg Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:BITA), American car giant Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), and fuel cell specialist Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG). Below, we'll break down how option buyers are positioning themselves, and how much speculators are willing to pay for their bets on BITA, F, and PLUG.

  • BITA has been a technical outperformer over the past 52 weeks, adding 84.8% to perch at $65. So far in 2015, however, the equity has shed about 7.7%, with BITA swallowing heavy losses this week after forming a triple top near the $95 level. Despite the recently negative price action, traders are favoring call options. Bitauto Hldg Ltd (ADR)'s 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 3.85 ranks just 10 percentage points away from an annual peak. Short-term options for the security are fairly inexpensive at the moment, as its Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 64% ranks in the 21st percentile of all similar readings taken in the past year.

  • Shares of F have slipped, dropping 9.5% year-over-year to settle at $15.11, including a 2.5% year-to-date drop. Surprisingly, sentiment in the stock's options pits is bullish -- Ford Motor Company's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 5.10 ranks in the 64th percentile of its annual range. If F continues to slide on the charts, an unraveling of this bullish mentality among speculators could cause the stock to fall even farther. Meanwhile, with the company's fourth-quarter earnings report coming up at the end of this month, short-term options on F have rarely been more expensive; the equity's 30-day at-the-money implied volatility of 30.3% arrives in the 96th annual percentile.

  • PLUG has also been on the decline, losing nearly 28% year-over-year to fall to a meager $2.75, while underperforming the SPX by a whopping 38 percentage points over the last three months. Accordingly, sentiment in the options pits is overwhelmingly bearish -- the equity's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 0.88 sits higher than 99% of all similar readings taken over the past year. Short-term options for Plug Power Inc are nearing bottom-of-the-barrel prices, as its SVI of 80% ranks in the 11th percentile of all similar readings taken over the past 52 weeks.
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