Mysterious Invite Has Traders Streaming to Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Apple Inc. (AAPL) announced an event on March 9, leading to smartwatch speculation

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Published on Feb 26, 2015 at 1:05 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Could the Apple Watch launch be just around the corner? It's possible, as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) recently sent out invitations -- which simply read "Spring forward" -- for a Monday, March 9 event. Amid this buzz -- as well as unsubstantiated rumors of an interest in Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) -- AAPL's options pits are busier than usual.

Specifically, more than 1 million AAPL options have changed hands thus far, compared to an expected intraday volume of 615,000 contracts. Digging deeper, nine of the 10 most active strikes belong to the weekly 2/27 series, which expires at tomorrow's closing bell.

Option bulls are buying to open weekly 2/27 128-, 129-, 130-, and 131-strike calls, expecting the shares -- up 0.9% at $129.93 -- to settle atop the respective levels tomorrow night. Meanwhile, it appears some skeptics are initiating long positions at the weekly 2/27 126-, 127-, and 128-strike puts, banking on an eleventh-hour pullback in AAPL.

Taking a step back, calls have held a decisive advantage over puts. During the last two weeks, traders at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open 2.48 AAPL calls for every put -- a ratio that outstrips about two-thirds of all comparable readings from the past year.

This preference for bullish bets over bearish shouldn't come as any surprise. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been a long-term technical outperformer, jetting more than 72% higher over the last 12 months. In fact, the stock hit a record peak of $133.60 earlier this week.


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