Options Trading is Heavy on Volatile Kite Pharma (KITE)

Kite Pharma Inc (KITE) saw a rush of call selling yesterday

Digital Content Group
Jan 16, 2015 at 8:34 AM
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Kite Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:KITE) soared to a record high of $89.21 out of the gate yesterday, but spiraled lower from that point forward -- ending with a loss of 17.3% to close at $72.42 -- despite the absence of a clear-cut driver. In fact, the stock was placed on the short-sale restricted list in afternoon trading. Amid this roller-coaster price pattern, options volume spiked to four times the daily norm.

Casting our net wider reveals some interesting trends in KITE's options pits. Currently, there are 5,730 calls and 5,066 puts in open interest -- readings that rank in the 99th and 100th percentiles of their respective annual ranges. Plus, the biopharmaceutical stock's 30-day at-the-money implied volatility jumped 13.6% yesterday to land at a record high of 89.7%.

Digging deeper into Thursday's action, short-term Kite Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:KITE) options were in focus, as each of the 10 most active strikes expire within the next five weeks. The majority of the action was skeptical-to-bearish in nature, with sell-to-open activity at the January 2015 85-strike and 90-strike calls, as well as the February 95 call.

Daily Chart of KITE since June 2014

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