Most Active Options Update: Apple Inc. and Twitter Inc

Put players have taken aim at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) in recent weeks

by Karee Venema

Published on Jul 9, 2015 at 11:20 AM
Updated on Jul 9, 2015 at 11:22 AM

The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest total 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 tech titans Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), which have both seen accelerated put volume in recent weeks.

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AAPL received a fundamental win today when a federal judge in Texas threw out a previous verdict which called for the company to pay $533 million in patent infringement damages, and ordered a new trial. This may be what's helping lift AAPL 0.6% higher this morning to $123.36, a much-needed boost for a stock that shed 2.5% yesterday on speculation Apple Watch sales are plummeting. Longer term, the shares are down 8.3% since hitting an April 28 record high of $134.54.

Amid the stock's recent struggles, option traders have been scooping up long puts over calls at a rapid-fire rate. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), AAPL's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.57 ranks in the 93rd annual percentile.

Today, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) puts are crossing the tape at a rate 1.3 times the average intraday pace. Weekly options are hot, with the 7/10 series accounting for six of AAPL's 10 most active options. Drilling down, it looks like some speculators are purchasing new positions at the security's weekly 7/10 123- and 124-strike puts, betting on the stock to resume its recent downtrend by tomorrow's close, when the series expires.

TWTR has made some volatile moves in 2015, but more recently, has been seen wallowing beneath the $36 mark since mid-June. Today, the shares are up 0.4% at $34.92 amid a broad-market upturn. Looking ahead, the equity could be poised for some more frantic price action, with the company's earnings report due the evening of Tuesday, July 28. In fact, following its last eight turns in the earnings confessional, the stock has averaged a single-session post-earnings swing of 14.6%.

It appears option traders are banking on this action to resolve to the downside. The equity's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 0.46 rests higher than 77% of all comparable readings taken in the past year. Plus, TWTR's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.76 sits in the 83rd percentile of its annual range. Simply stated, short-term traders are more put-heavy than usual toward the equity.

In the back-month series -- which encompasses Twitter Inc's (NYSE:TWTR) upcoming earnings report -- peak put open interest of 119,871 contracts is found at the August 35 strike. Since May 18, nearly 2,300 long puts have been initiated here on the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX. In other words, speculators are gambling on TWTR to be sitting south of $35 at the close on Friday, Aug. 21 -- when the options expire.



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