Short-Term Bulls Roll the Dice on Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS)

Calls are trading at an accelerated clip on Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) this afternoon

by Karee Venema

Published on Jul 30, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Calls are hot on Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) this afternoon, with the contracts running at 1.4 times the average intraday rate -- and outpacing puts by a more than 2-to-1 margin. The majority of the action has centered on strikes that expire over the next several weeks, as speculators roll the dice on the casino concern's near-term trajectory.

Drilling down, in the weekly 7/31 series -- which expires at tomorrow's close -- buy-to-open activity has been detected at the 55- and 56-strike calls. Elsewhere, slightly longer-term speculators appear to be purchasing new positions at LVS' weekly 8/14 60-strike call, as well as August 57 and 60 calls.

The goal for each set of call buyers is for LVS to rally north of the strike by the respective expiration dates. One of the advantages to trading options -- as opposed to buying a stock outright -- is that there is limited risk. Specifically, the most these call buyers stand to lose, should the calls expire out of the money, is the premium paid.

Widening the sentiment scope reveals today's accelerated call activity is just more of the same. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), LVS' 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.47 ranks in the 71st annual percentile. Simply stated, calls have been bought to open over puts at a faster-than-usual clip.

Outside of the options pits, sentiment is more mixed. For starters, seven of 13 analysts maintain a "buy" or better rating on the stock, with not a single "sell" to be found. Plus, although short interest dropped 10% in the latest reporting period, it still accounts for a healthy 7% of the stock's available float.

Technically speaking, Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) has struggled -- down 3.7% year-to-date and 24% year-over-year. Today, however, the shares are up 3.2% at $55.98, thanks to a well-received earnings report for sector peer Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN).

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