Call Buying Dominates Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (CLF)

Just because calls are popular, doesn't exactly mean traders are bullish on Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF)

by Josh Selway

Published on May 5, 2015 at 1:59 PM

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) is surging today -- adding 11.3% to trade at $6.52, amid speculation Quebec may be interested in buying some of the firm's Bloom Lake assets -- and options traders are wasting little time getting in on the action. By the numbers, calls are crossing at an accelerated rate, outpacing puts by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. Leading the way is the June 7 call, which it seems traders are buying to open in hopes of the shares toppling $7 by the close on Friday, June 19, when back-month options expire.

This bullish betting is merely an extension of the recent trend in CLF's options pits. Over the past two weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the security has accumulated a call/put volume ratio of 4.21, which outranks 92% of all readings from the past year.

Additionally, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.75 is at an annual low. This means short-term speculators are more call-skewed now than at any point in the past year.

Over the past 12 months, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) has dropped close to 64%, and short interest now represents over half of the stock's float. Therefore, there's a chance some of the recent call buying is due to short sellers hedging their bearish bets.


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