Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA) Option Bears Climb on Board

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) is lower today, amid speculation its founders are looking to take a $2 billion loan against the shares

by Karee Venema

Published on Sep 4, 2015 at 1:36 PM
Updated on Sep 4, 2015 at 1:39 PM

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) is sinking today -- down 3.3% at $64.30. While broad-market headwinds are likely playing a role in today's drop, unconfirmed rumors that the firm's founders are planning on taking a $2 billion loan against the shares may also be a factor. Regardless, the stock has widened its year-to-date deficit to over 38%.

In the options pits, traders have started taking note of this downtrend. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), for example, BABA's 10-day put/call volume ratio has jumped to 1.13 from its Aug. 24 reading of 0.72. This is the day the stock breached its IPO price for the first time since going public last November -- and made its way to record-low territory.

However, there's still plenty of room on BABA's bearish bandwagon. Today, in fact, while buy-to-open activity has been detected at the equity's October 60 put, the most active strike is the September 66 call. According to data from the ISE, new positions are being purchased here, as traders roll the dice on BABA climbing back above $66 by the close on Friday, Sept. 18 -- when front-month options expire.

The struggling stock could be due for some bearish backlash outside of the options arena, as well. Of the 24 analysts covering BABA, 21 maintain a "buy" or better rating, with not a single "sell" to be found. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $95.62 stands in territory not charted since late January. Should Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) continue to struggle, a round of downgrades and/or price-target cuts could be on the horizon.

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