Eleventh-Hour Option Traders Bombard Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) front-month options are popular today

May 14, 2015 at 11:21 AM
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Option traders are active on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) today, with contracts trading at 1.2 times the average intraday pace. By the numbers, 321,000 calls have changed hands, versus 162,000 puts. What's more, front-month options are in high demand, with eight of AAPL's 10 most active options expiring at tomorrow's close.

Taking a closer look, the stock's May 127 put and May 128 call have received notable attention, with a collective 49,843 contracts on the tape at last check. It appears as if a portion of the activity is of the buy-to-open kind -- a theory echoed by data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE). Simply stated, put buyers are betting on AAPL to breach $127 by week's end, while call buyers think the stock will continue to power north of $128.

Expanding the sentiment scope reveals put buying has been picking up speed in recent months. At the ISE, Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), AAPL's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.49 ranks in the 88th annual percentile. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls with more rapidity just 12% of the time within the past year.

On the charts, AAPL has been a standout -- which makes it possible that some of the recent put buying is a result of shareholders protecting paper profits. Year-over-year, the shares have surged more than 51% to trade at $128.22, thanks to several big bounces off their rising 80-day moving average. More recently, AAPL hit an all-time high of $134.54 on April 28, following a stellar turn in the earnings confessional.

Off the charts, rumors have been circulating the iPhone purveyor could have its eye on BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY). Additionally, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has reportedly settled an employee-poaching lawsuit with A123 Systems.

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