Pre-Earnings Option Bulls Rush Facebook, Inc. (FB)

Facebook Inc (FB) will report first-quarter numbers Wednesday night

Digital Content Group
Apr 20, 2015 at 10:45 AM
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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is rallying on reports that its Internet.org initiative launched in Indonesia, as well as a positive note from Oppenheimer -- which said the social network is poised to exceed first-quarter estimates when it takes the earnings stage this Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, FB calls are crossing at 1.3 times the usual intraday rate, as traders bank on extended upside through week's end.

Specifically, potential buy-to-open activity is detected at the weekly 4/24 85-strike call. By initiating these out-of-the-money positions, speculators anticipate FB will topple $85 by Friday's close, when the weekly series expires.

The bets express confidence the stock will get a lift from the company's quarterly results. Historically speaking, FB's trips to the earnings confessional have favored bullish bettors. In the session following the past eight quarterly events, the shares have gained 6.5%, on average.

Today's optimistic bettors aren't alone in their lofty expectations. In fact, during the previous 10 weeks, FB has amassed a call/put volume ratio of 2.66 across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). What's more, this ratio ranks in the 94th annual percentile, suggesting traders have been buying to open calls over puts at an accelerated clip of late.

Echoing this, FB's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.56 sits lower than 84% of comparable readings from the past 12 months. In other words, short-term call open interest outweighs put open interest by a bigger-than-usual margin.

And why not? Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has been a long-term technical beast. The shares are up 1.7% today at $82.14, bringing their year-over-year lead to an impressive 34%.

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