Frenzy In National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NBG) Options Pits

National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NBG) options are active amid bailout speculation

Feb 20, 2015 at 1:51 PM
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Amid so far unconfirmed reports of a Greek bailout deal with eurozone finance ministers, shares of National Bank of Greece (ADR) (NYSE:NBG) have rocketed nearly 20% higher to $1.97. What's more, NBG options have hit fever pitch, trading at four times the average intraday rate, with calls outpacing puts by a margin of nearly 4-to-1.

Possible buy-to-open activity has been detected at the January 2017 7-strike call -- the most active option thus far. By purchasing the LEAPS to open, the buyers are banking on a serious long-term recovery for NBG, which hit a record low of $0.98 in late January. The calls will move into the money if NBG more than triples in value through January 2017, toppling the $7 level. Delta on the call sits at 0.12, implying just a 12% shot of expiring in the money.

Meanwhile, bears are taking a much shorter-term approach, with the weekly 2/27 1.50-strike contract most active on the put side. By purchasing the puts to open, the buyers expect NBG to backpedal south of $1.50 by next Friday's close, when the options expire. Delta on the put sits at negative 0.22, suggesting a 22% chance of expiring in the money in a week.

Amid the fiscal uncertainty of Greece, NBG puts have been more active than usual during the past two weeks 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 0.21 sits higher than 87% of all other readings from the past year, pointing to a healthier-than-usual appetite for bearish bets of late.

What's more, National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) traders are paying up to bet on the stock's short-term trajectory. The equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 186% stands higher than 80% of all other readings from the past year, suggesting NBG's near-term contracts are historically expensive.

 

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