Most Active Options Update: Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Exxon Mobil Corporation

Put players have been circling Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)

Aug 27, 2015 at 3:03 PM
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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 oil-and-gas issues Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM).

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It's been a dismal run for CHK, which has shed three-quarters of its value over the past 52 weeks, and hit a 12-year low of $6.01 on Tuesday. The majority of this downside has come as a direct result of crude oil's steep sell-off. Today, CHK is tracking black gold's path once again -- this time to the upside. Specifically, with crude notching its biggest one-day percentage gain since March 2009, shares of CHK are up 7.7% at $6.82.

Against this backdrop, calls are crossing the tape at two times the average intraday rate, and are outpacing puts by a 2-to-1 margin. The security's weekly 8/28 7-strike call is seeing significant buy-to-open activity, as traders roll the dice on additional gains through tomorrow's close, when the series expires.

From a wider perspective, the trend in Chesapeake Energy Corporation's options pits has been toward puts. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.70 ranks in the 96th annual percentile. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster clip just 4% of the time within the past year.

XOM is getting a double-barreled boost from rising crude prices, as well as a triple-digit surge for the Dow. At last check, the stock was 1.9% higher at $73.87. However, the security remains a long-term laggard, down 26% year-over-year, and fresh off Monday's four-year low of $66.55.

Not everyone is buying this bounce, though, with XOM's weekly 8/28 73-strike put garnering the most attention in today's trading. It seems safe to assume new positions are being purchased here, meaning speculators think the security will settle the week south of $73.

More broadly speaking, short-term speculators have shown a preference for puts over calls, per Exxon Mobil Corporation's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.14. What's more, this ratio sits higher than 96% of all similar readings taken in the past year, suggesting these traders have rarely been as put-heavy toward XOM as they are now.
 

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