Traders Pile On as Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) Cleans House

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) is planning to sell $10 billion in assets

by Karee Venema

Published on Feb 3, 2015 at 2:17 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is helping boost the Dow today -- with the shares up 1.8% at $47.85 -- as traders react positively to news the telecommunications giant is reportedly preparing to rid itself of roughly $10 billion in assets. In the options pits, total volume is running at 1.7 times what's typically seen at this point in the day, with traders seemingly split on the equity's short-term trajectory.

Receiving the most attention is VZ's February 48 put, with all signs suggesting buy-to-open activity. By purchasing these now at-the-money puts, speculators expect VZ to be sitting south of the strike at the close on Friday, Feb. 20 -- when front-month options expire. Meanwhile, option bulls are initiating new long positions at the February 49.50 call, as they roll the dice on a bigger bounce over the next several weeks.

Expanding the sentiment scope reveals options traders have shown a preference for bearish bets over bullish in recent months. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), VZ's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.57 ranks higher than 64% of similar readings taken over the past 52 weeks.

Technically speaking, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) has failed to make any notable moves in 2015, and is sitting roughly 2% above where it started the year. However, today's positive price action has the shares on pace to settle north of their 50-day moving average for the first time since Dec. 1.

Daily Chart of VZ Since November 2014 With 50-Day Moving Average

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