Most Active Options Update: Apple Inc. and Intel Corporation

Put players have set their sights on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)

Sep 3, 2015 at 10:41 AM
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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 blue chips Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC).

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Put buying has neared peak levels in AAPL's options pits, per data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Specifically, the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio across these major exchanges arrives at 0.74 -- in the 99th annual percentile. Simply stated, puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster clip just 1% of the time within the past year.

In today's trading, volume is running at a slower-than-expected clip, but buy-to-open activity may be occurring at AAPL's weekly 9/4 110-, 111-, and 112-strike puts. If speculators are indeed purchasing new positions here, the goal is for the security to settle south of the strikes at tomorrow's close, when the weekly series expires.

Technically speaking, AAPL has shown some signs of life since last week's trek into double-digit territory prompted one brokerage firm to wax optimistic on the stock's risk/reward ratio. However, the shares are struggling to stay above their year-to-date breakeven mark, and were last seen down 0.5% at $111.76. Apple Inc. could see some volatility next Wednesday, Sept. 9, when the company hosts its latest event. Details on the newest iPhone iteration are expected to be released.

​Put players have also been active in INTC's options arena, per the equity's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 1.35, which sits just 12 percentage points from a 52-week peak. Echoing this is the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.42, which ranks in the 84th percentile of its annual range. In other words, short-term traders are more put-skewed than usual toward INTC.

This skepticism has not spilled outside of the options pits, however, where most analysts remain upbeat toward the equity. In fact, 60% of those covering INTC maintain a "buy" or better rating on the stock -- leaving the door open for a re-evaluation of ratings, should the shares continue their recent struggle.

Specifically, Intel Corporation has shed 19.5% year-to-date. In today's trading, however, the stock is following in the bullish footsteps of the broader equities market -- up 2.2% at $29.23, after the company unveiled a $50 million collaboration with the Delft University of Technology and TNO.
 

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