Most Active Weekly Options: Baidu Inc and Yahoo! Inc.

Short-term options traders have been targeting Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)

by Josh Selway

Published on Aug 24, 2015 at 2:00 PM

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 Internet stocks Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO).

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Like the broader market, BIDU took a hard hit out of the gate, but has somewhat pared those early losses, last seen 5.5% lower at $144.45. In fact, the shares slid all the way to a two-year low of $100 earlier, finding themselves on the short-sale restricted (SSR) list.  Even with the intraday recovery, the stock is still off nearly 37% in 2015, hurt by continued weakness out of China

Short-term options traders have remained interested in calls during BIDU's technical downfall. The equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) sits at 0.69, only 16 percentage points from an annual low. In other words, these speculators have been much more interested in calls than puts compared to what's normally seen, among options expiring in three months or less. Today, it looks like traders are buying to open Baidu Inc's weekly 8/28 170-strike call, the most popular contract by far, in hopes the security will rebound by week's end, when the series expires.

YHOO, meanwhile, is bouncing back from a nearly two-year low of its own, at $29. The security was last seen 2.5% lower at $32.12, but remains on the SSR list. The stock's 2015 performance has been similar to that of BIDU, as YHOO has given back 36%.

Unlike with BIDU, YHOO options traders have been more interested in puts than what's normally seen. During the past 50 days at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity has accrued a put/call volume ratio of 0.49 -- higher than 88% of all readings from the past year.

Yahoo! Inc. put volume is accelerated again today, with the contracts crossing at almost twice the expected intraday pace. It appears traders are selling to open the weekly 8/28 32-strike put, betting on the shares to remain above $32 through week's end. 

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