Twitter, Inc. (TWTR) Troubles Spark a Rush of Put Volume

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is on pace for a 26% week-to-date loss

by Karee Venema

Published on May 1, 2015 at 1:18 PM

It's been a tough week for social media stocks, and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is no exception. The equity is swooning in step with LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) today -- down 3.9% at $37.43, and widening its earnings-induced week-to-date loss to 26%. In the options pits, puts are crossing the tape at two times the average intraday pace, with the security's weekly 5/1 series garnering notable attention.

Specifically, there appears to be some buy-to-open activity happening at TWTR's weekly 5/1 37.50- and 38-strike puts. In other words, speculators are betting on the stock to extend today's slide through tonight's close, when the weekly series expires.

Widening the sentiment scope reveals a distinct skew toward long calls over puts in recent months. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculators have bought to open 722,976 calls versus 240,464 puts over the past 50 sessions. What's more, the resultant call/put volume ratio of 3.01 sits just 3 percentage points from a 52-week peak.

Outside of the options pits, sentiment among the brokerage bunch is mixed. Of the 28 analysts covering the shares, 57% maintain a "hold" or "strong sell." Meanwhile, the average 12-month price target of $47.34 stands at a 26.5% premium to current trading levels. Should Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) continue to struggle, a round of price-target hikes could translate into a fresh wave of selling pressure.

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