Is Sentiment Starting to Shift on Intel Corporation (INTC)?

Intel Corporation (INTC) put volume has been accelerated in recent months

by Karee Venema

Published on Mar 23, 2015 at 3:00 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

Put players have set their sights on Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) in recent months, as evidenced by data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Specifically, the equity's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.95 across these exchanges rests in the 82nd percentile of its annual range. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-usual clip.

Today, however, it's call players that have turned out in INTC's options pits. The contracts are trading at 1.4 times what's typically seen at this point in the day, and are outpacing puts by a roughly 2-to-1 margin. Receiving notable attention is the security's weekly 3/27 31.50-strike call, and it looks as if some of the activity is of the buy-to-open kind. In other words, traders are gambling on INTC toppling the $31.50 mark by Friday's close, when the weekly series expires. The stock already achieved this feat earlier in the session, when it hit an intraday high of $31.79.

Technically speaking, INTC has been a long-term outperformer, tacking on 25% over the past 52 weeks. Today, however, the shares are sticking close to the flatline -- up 0.03% at $31.32, at last check -- as the blue chip struggles between an analyst-induced slide for one of its sector peers and a rally in the broader Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Should the shares resume their longer-term trajectory, though, a round of upgrades -- or a continued shift in sentiment among option traders -- could translate into tailwinds for INTC. Of the 30 analysts covering Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), 13 maintain a "hold" or worse recommendation.


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