Bulls Keep the Faith in United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL)

United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL) is popping today on oil's retreat


Published on Feb 4, 2015 at 10:27 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Airline stocks have struggled in recent sessions amid crude's rebound, and United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) is no exception. As of Tuesday's close at $67.97, the stock had lost 7.6% in the three previous sessions. Nevertheless, options traders yesterday gambled on a short-term advance past the round-number $70 level.

Diving right in, calls crossed at a 66% mark-up to the average daily volume, and outpaced puts by a roughly 5-to-1 margin. Most active by far was UAL's March 70 call, as 12,247 contracts were exchanged. Specifically, speculators purchased fresh positions in the hopes that the equity will bounce back above $70 by the close on Friday, March 20 -- when the back-month options expire.

These traders are in luck. UAL has jumped 3% this morning to trade at $70.02, as oil has resumed its longer-term downtrend. As such, delta on the now at-the-money call has risen to 0.54 from 0.48 at last night's closing bell.

Taking a step back, calls have been preferred over puts for the last couple weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). United Continental Holdings Inc's (NYSE:UAL) 10-day call/put volume ratio of 4.84 outranks 95% of all other readings from the past year.

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