, inc., Autobytel Inc., and Cigna Corporation Options Active Amid M&A Headlines, inc. (CRM), Autobytel Inc. (ABTL), and CIGNA Corporation (CI) are attracting option bulls amid M&A chatter

by Andrea Kramer

Published on May 22, 2015 at 2:05 PM

M&A speculation is running rampant ahead of the holiday weekend, with cloud concern, inc. (NYSE:CRM), automotive marketing firm Autobytel Inc. (NASDAQ:ABTL), and healthcare concern CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI) among the companies making noise. What's more, the trio's options are flying off the shelves as traders place bullish bets.

CRM was last seen 3.2% higher at $75.29, amid reports the company did, in fact, hold "significant" talks with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) this summer, CNBC said. However, MSFT's alleged bid of $55 billion for CRM was rejected, and sources said the pair isn't re-engaged. Nevertheless,, inc. options traders are betting bullishly today, with calls crossing at twice the average intraday pace. It looks like speculators are buying to open the June 80 call amid hopes for CRM to surmount the round-number strike -- and conquer its all-time high of $78.46, tagged when the aforementioned MSFT rumors hit the Street in late April -- by the close on Friday, June 19, when front-month options expire 

ABTL has skyrocketed 31.9% to $18, and earlier notched a fresh annual high of $18.23, after the company lifted its 2015 guidance and said it's buying rival Dealix Corp. for $25 million. The shares are also benefiting from price-target hikes at Ascendiant Capital (to $20) and B. Riley (to $20.50). Autobytel Inc. calls are crossing at 23 times the normal intraday clip, with buy-to-open action spotted at the June and October 17.50-strike calls. By purchasing the calls to open, the buyers expect ABTL to extend its ascent through the respective expiration dates of June 19 and Friday, Oct. 16. 

CI soared around midday, and the Twittersphere is talking takeover speculation. After touching an all-time peak of $137.16, the stock was last seen 1.9% higher at $135.49. Meanwhile, CIGNA Corporation calls are hot, trading at six times the average afternoon pace. It seems traders are eyeing a move north of $140, buying to open the June and July 140-strike calls -- the two most active contracts so far. What's more, the equity's 30-day at-the-money implied volatility has rocketed 24.1% to 28.1% -- above 97% of all other readings from the past year.

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