Gov't Vow Lures Option Bulls to National Bank of Greece (NBG)

National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NBG) traders have been more put-centered than usual

Feb 2, 2015 at 11:11 AM
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The shares of National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NYSE:NBG) are up 10.9% at $1.22, after a spokesman for Greece's new government said it "will not appoint party officials at the management of banks," and vowed to "not do anything that would hurt the share value of banks." Against this backdrop, NBG calls are trading at twice the average intraday clip, with speculators hoping for an extended short-term rebound.

Digging deeper, NBG calls have outpaced puts by a margin of 7-to-1. It looks like some traders are buying to open the February 2 call, which will move into the money if NBG climbs back atop $2 -- which acted as a roadblock in the latter half of December, following the snap election announcement -- by the close on Friday, Feb. 20, when front-month options expire. Delta on the call currently rests at 0.11, implying about an 11% shot of the contract expiring in the money.

Today's appetite for bullish bets on NBG marks a shift in sentiment in the options arena. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.72 sits 2 percentage points from an annual high. Likewise, the security's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.27 stands higher than 98% of comparable readings from the past year, suggesting near-term option players have rarely been more put-heavy.

What's more, short-term speculators are paying a pretty penny to bet on NBG. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) rests at an annual high of 199%, indicating the equity's near-term contracts are historically expensive right now.

On the charts, National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) has shed more than 30% in 2015, even with today's pop. The equity has surrendered almost three-quarters of its value during the past year, amid political and economic turmoil in Greece, and touched a record low of $0.98 on Wednesday.

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