Option Bulls Target Seadrill Limited (SDRL) Amid Bounce

Seadrill Ltd (SDRL) is getting a boost from crude, and option bulls are responding

by Alex Eppstein

Published on May 5, 2015 at 1:16 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL) and the rest of the energy sector are getting a lift from spiking oil prices. At last check, shares of the offshore driller were 10.1% higher at $14.67 -- bringing their year-to-date lead to nearly 23%. Not surprisingly, bullish betting has picked up in the stock's options pits.

SDRL calls are currently trading at five times what's expected at this point in the session, and double the rate of puts. According to Trade-Alert,  the January 2016 15-strike call -- which is SDRL's most active option -- is seeing buy-to-open action. By purchasing these positions, long-term bulls anticipate the shares will topple $15 by January 2016 options expiration. However, the equity hasn't explored the north side of that strike since late November.

This bullish betting marks a change of pace for SDRL. During the previous 10 days, the stock has racked up a put/call volume ratio of 3.21 across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) -- with more than three puts bought to open for every call. What's more, the ratio ranks in the 88th annual percentile.

Analysts are similarly skeptical. Two-thirds of the brokerage firms tracking Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL) rate it a "hold" or worse. Also, the equity's average 12-month price target of $13.28 stands at a discount to current trading levels. This could set the stage for a round of upgrades and/or price-target hikes.

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