Apple Inc. (AAPL) Option Buyers Take Cues from Icahn

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is higher after Carl Icahn's open letter to CEO Tim Cook

by Andrea Kramer

Published on May 18, 2015 at 12:12 PM

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shot higher in late-morning trading, after activist investor Carl Icahn said he thinks the shares are "dramatically undervalued," and waxed optimistic on the company's future ventures. At last check, AAPL has added 1.2% to flirt with $130.35 -- helping the Dow explore record highs -- and option traders are rolling the dice on more upside this week. 

AAPL calls have more than doubled puts so far today, with roughly 325,000 contracts exchanged. Weekly options expiring at Friday's close are dominant, accounting for eight of the 10 most active strikes thus far. What's more, the top five options are weekly calls.

Specifically, buy-to-open action has been detected at the weekly 5/22 129-, 130-, 131-, 132-, and 133-strike calls -- the five most active options at midday. By purchasing the contracts to open, the buyers expect AAPL to extend its upward momentum -- and possibly topple its April 28 all-time high of $134.54 -- and end the week north of the respective strikes.

Today's affinity for bullish bets marks a change of pace for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.53 stands in the 88th percentile of its annual range, suggesting traders have bought to open AAPL puts over calls at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks.


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