Option Bulls Charge Deutsche Bank AG (DB) After Executives Resign

A front-office change has calls running hot on Deutsche Bank AG (USA) (NYSE:DB)

by Josh Selway

Published on Jun 8, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Deutsche Bank AG (USA) (NYSE:DB) is up 6.1% today at $32.51, on news the company's co-chief executives have resigned, and will be replaced by John Cryan. Activity has since picked up in DB's option pits, as traders are reacting positively to the management change. 

Specifically, calls are changing hands at six times the expected intraday pace, and it looks like traders are buying to open the June 31 call. By doing so, traders are betting on extended gains for the shares above $31 before the contracts expire at the close on Friday, June 19. 

Today's activity runs counter to the recent trend in DB's option pits. According to data from 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 0.61 is higher than 83% of readings from the past year. So, although call buying has been more popular on an absolute basis, put buying has been more popular in recent weeks than what's normally seen. 

This growing pessimism can be seen outside the option arena, as well. During the past two reporting periods, short interest increased almost 21% on DB. Now, 10.7 million shares are controlled by short sellers, which would take them over eight sessions to buy back, at the security's normal trading pace. 

Technically speaking, the stock has been a long-term laggard. Before today's gains, DB was off 21% year-over-year, and had underperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 12.5 percentage points in the past two months. 

There may be some hope for Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB), if it can sustain today's momentum. The shares are currently trading above their average 12-month price target of $30.65, while half of covering analysts call them a "hold" or "sell." In other words, a reversal of analyst outlook could add fuel to the stock's fire. In fact, just today, BofA-Merrill Lynch raised its outlook to "neutral" from "underperform," and S&P Capital and SocGen each increased their price targets. 

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