Short-Term Bulls Express Confidence in Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV)

Southwest Airlines Co (LUV) and its sector peers are again running into headwinds

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jun 9, 2015 at 2:19 PM

For the second day in a row, airline stocks are getting decimated -- and Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) is one of the worst off. The shares were last seen 4.8% lower at $34.47, pressured by a $10 price-target cut to $45 at Cowen and Company, and ugly passenger revenue guidance. However, a number of option bulls are keeping the faith in LUV.

At last check, the stock's calls are crossing at triple the average intraday pace. Among the strikes seeing buy-to-open activity are the June 34.50 and 36.50 calls -- which expire at the close next Friday, June 19 -- as well as the July 39 call, which ceases trading at the close on Friday, July 17. In other words, these call buyers think LUV will rebound and topple the strikes by front- and back-month expiration, respectively.

Today's penchant for call buying is unusual. LUV's 10-day put/call volume ratio across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) is 0.57 -- in the 82nd annual percentile. Echoing this is the security's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.25, which sits just 2 percentage points from a 12-month high.

Based on the charts, this longer-term bearish bias isn't shocking. Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) has plunged almost 19% year-to-date, and is poised to end a third straight week below its 50-week moving average -- something that hasn't occurred since May 2012.

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