Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) Option Traders Eye an End-of-Week Rally

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) is higher today on acquisition-related rumors

by Karee Venema

Published on Apr 21, 2015 at 1:15 PM

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) options pits are busy today, with contracts crossing the tape at two times the average intraday pace. By the numbers, roughly 75,000 calls have changed hands, versus 24,000 puts. Call players have set their sights on the weekly 4/24 series, with four out of GILD's five most active options expiring at this Friday's close.

According to data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), some buy-to-open activity has been detected at GILD's weekly 4/24 102- and 103-strike calls. By purchasing these new positions, speculators expect the security to extend its lead north of the strikes by week's end, when the series expires. The stock is trading markedly higher today, and amid this pop, delta on the 102-strike call has jumped to 0.80 from 0.33 at last night's close. Delta on the 103-strike call, meanwhile, has risen to 0.71 from 0.22.

Expanding the sentiment scope reveals GILD's long calls have been growing in popularity of late. Over the past two weeks, the equity's 10-day ISE, Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio has grown to 3.12 from 1.74. What's more, the current ratio ranks in the 76th annual percentile of its annual range, meaning calls have been bought to open over puts at a faster-than-usual clip.

Technically speaking, GILD has had a strong month -- thanks to a sharp bounce off 50-week moving average -- up 7.3% at $104.83. Today, the shares have rallied more than 4%, after Bernstein waxed optimistic over the possibility of Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) purchasing its sector peer Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX). VRTX, meanwhile, is also higher -- up 4.4% at last check.

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