Most Active Weekly Options: Chevron Corporation and Exxon Mobil Corporation

Put players have been active in recent weeks on Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)

Jul 6, 2015 at 11:46 AM
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The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest total weekly options volume during the past 10 trading days. Names highlighted are new to the list since the last time the study was run, and data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. Two names of notable interest are blue-chip energy issues Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM).

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CVX has put in a dismal showing on the charts, and since topping out at a record high of $135.10 last July, the shares have surrendered nearly 30%. This technical slump is in full swing today, thanks to a broader overseas-related sell-off in crude oil. In fact, the security tagged a fresh three-year low of $94.48 earlier -- following a price-target cut to $104 from $114 at J.P. Morgan Securities -- but was last seen down 0.8% at $95.03.

Against this backdrop, put players have been piling into CVX's options pits in recent months. The stock's 50-day put/call volume ratio across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) sits at 1.54 -- in the 95th percentile of its annual range. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls with more rapidity just 5% of the time within the past year.

In the weekly 7/10 series -- which expires at this Friday's close -- put traders have been particularly fond of the 93.50 strike, where 7,830 contracts are currently in residence. For those buying to open the puts, the goal is for Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) to breach the $93.50 mark for the first time since November 2011.

J.P. Morgan Securities also lowered its price target on XOM to $92 from $93, although this still represents expected upside of 11.1% to XOM's current perch at $82.85. The equity has also been in a long-term slump, down roughly 21% from its record high of $104.76, tagged July 29. Today, the shares are off 0.4%, after the company announced it will no longer be exploring for oil in Madagascar, due to disappointing findings.

Like CVX, XOM has seen accelerated put activity in its options pits. During the course of the past 10 sessions, speculators at the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX have bought to open 3.29 puts for each call. What's more, this ratio ranks higher than 94% of all similar readings taken in the past year.

Drilling down on the weekly 7/10 series, peak put open interest of nearly 1,700 contracts can be found at the 83 strike. For those who initiated long puts, the expectation is for Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) to extend its trek south of $83 through week's end.
 

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