Whole Foods Market, Inc. (WFM) Option Bulls Kick It Into High Gear

Front-month and weekly calls are both popular on Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) today

by Josh Selway

Published on Jun 9, 2015 at 11:16 AM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Call volume is taking off in Whole Foods Market, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:WFM) option pits today, even though the stock was last seen off 0.6% at $39.75. So far, more than 18,000 calls have crossed, compared to just 2,167 expected. What's more, fewer than 2,000 puts have crossed, meaning calls have outpaced puts by a factor of nine, while accounting for nine of WFM's 10 most active strikes.

The most popular option is the June 40 call, with signs pointing to buy-to-open activity. By purchasing the calls for a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.57, traders are betting on the shares to topple $40.57 (strike plus VWAP) by the close on Friday, June 19, when front-month options expire. WFM's current intraday high is $40.40.

Weekly calls are also in high demand. Specifically, it looks like traders are buying to open the weekly 6/12 39.50-, 40-, and 41-strike calls, expecting the stock to top the strikes before the contracts expire at the close this Friday.

It's normal to see WFM traders pick up calls over puts (though not at the extreme rate we're seeing today). The equity's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio sits at 1.56. On top of this, WFM's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.81 reveals that call open interest outweighs put open interest among options expiring in three months or less.

This apparent bullish outlook isn't shared by the analyst community. Twenty-three brokerage firms are tracking the stock, and 13 of them rate it a "hold," compared to 10 "buy" or better ratings. Just today, Macquarie started coverage on WFM with a "neutral" rating.

On the charts, Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) has been moving south -- away from its average 12-month price target of $48.60 -- during the past few months. Specifically, the shares have fallen 31% since hitting an annual high of $57.57 on Feb. 19. 


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