Are Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) Option Players Hoping for a Charter Bid?

Traders are betting on Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC) to near record-high territory again

Apr 24, 2015 at 2:25 PM
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After seeing Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) officially walk away from their potential $45 billion merger -- and amid unconfirmed rumors that Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR) could make a bid -- Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) has added 3.6% today to trade at $154.10. Option players are reacting bullishly, with calls crossing at five times the normal intraday pace. Buy-to-open activity seems to be taking place at the May and June 160 calls, with traders hoping for the shares the topple $160 before the respective expiration dates of May 15 and June 19.

Before today, TWC's near-term option traders preferred puts over calls -- at least according to its Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR). The reading stands at 2.38, revealing put open interest greatly outnumbers call open interest among options expiring within the next three months. Also, this ratio ranks in the 77th percentile of its annual range, meaning short-term speculators are more put-skewed than normal.

Looking elsewhere, analysts are perfectly split on the shares; seven brokerage firms issue "buy" or better ratings, with seven others issuing "hold" or worse recommendations. In light of the terminated merger agreement, J.P. Morgan Securities resumed coverage of TWC with an "overweight" rating and a $176 price target. TWC's consensus 12-month price target of $171.36 represents an 11.3% premium to current levels, and stands in record-high territory.

Speaking of record-high territory, Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) hit its all-time mark of $161.14 earlier this month. That's not to say the shares have been booming, though. TWC has underperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) during the past two months.


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