Cree, Inc. (CREE) IPO Buzz Brings Option Bulls

Cree, Inc. (CREE) call options are in demand on the firm's plans to spin off a unit

by Andrea Kramer

Published on May 18, 2015 at 10:52 AM

LED specialist Cree, Inc. (NASDAQ:CREE) has jumped 5% to $31.24, as traders cheer the firm's attempt to spin off its power and radio-frequency unit into a publicly traded company. What's more, options traders are gambling on even more short-term upside for CREE, with call options trading at four times the average intraday clip, and outnumbering puts by a nearly 9-to-1 margin. 

Most active is the stock's weekly 5/22 30.50-strike call, where buy-to-open action has been spotted. By purchasing the calls to open, the buyers expect CREE to extend its momentum north of $30.50 through Friday's close, when the options expire. Delta on the call has nearly tripled since Friday, soaring to 0.83 from 0.28, implying about a 4-in-5 shot of the contracts expiring in the money. 

Today's appetite for calls merely echoes the growing trend. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 3.50 stands higher than 76% of all other readings from the past year. In other words, option buyers have displayed a healthier-than-usual appetite for bullish bets of late.

Of course, it should be noted that short interest accounts for 17.2% of CREE's total available float, representing more than a week's worth of pent-up buying demand, at the security's average pace of trading. Against this backdrop, it's possible that some of the recent call buying -- particularly at out-of-the-money strikes -- could be attributable to shorts looking for a hedge. 

On the charts, Cree, Inc. (NASDAQ:CREE) has been less than impressive. The shares have spent 2015 bouncing along support in the round-number $30 region, with rebound attempts halted by their 40-week moving average.

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