Are Transocean Ltd. (RIG) Shorts Shaking In Their Boots?

Transocean LTD (RIG) is following crude oil higher, but some option traders anticipate a pullback

Apr 15, 2015 at 12:13 PM
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Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG) is following crude oil into the black, with the offshore drilling concern last seen 6.5% higher at $18.27. In fact, the equity is on pace for a weekly gain of more than 10%, and has added close to 25% so far in April. However, the shares are struggling break north of their year-to-date breakeven mark, and option players are placing short-term bets at a rapid-fire rate.

Although RIG calls are trading at 1.8 times the average intraday pace, puts are still more popular on an absolute basis, echoing the recent trend on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). The equity's 10-day put/call volume ratio on the exchanges sits at 3.01 -- in the 84th percentile of its annual range, pointing to a healthier-than-usual appetite for bearish bets over bullish during the past two weeks.

Today, buy-to-open activity has been detected at the April 17 put. By purchasing the puts to open, the buyers expect RIG to backpedal beneath $17 by Friday's close, when front-month options expire. On the flip side, potential buyer-driven initiations have been spotted at the April and May 18 calls, with the speculators hoping RIG extends its journey north of $18 through the respective expiration dates of this Friday and Friday, May 15.

Outside of the option pits, Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG) shorts could be shaking in their boots. Short interest accounts for nearly a third of the stock's total available float, and would take more than 11 sessions to repurchase, at RIG's average pace of trading.

Daily Chart of RIG since March 2015


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