Bullish Betting Accelerates as FireEye Inc (FEYE) Heats Up

A number of short-term traders are counting on more upside from FireEye Inc (FEYE)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:14 AM

FireEye Inc (NASDAQ:FEYE) is bucking the broad-market trend lower, up 1.4% at $37.37 -- making it the only PureFunds ISE Cyber Security ETF (NYSEARCA:HACK) component in the green, at last check. While there's no clear driver propelling the shares higher, buyout speculation is widespread. At the same time, options trading on FEYE is running at an accelerated clip.

Diving right in, intraday volume checks in at more than double the expected amount, with calls outstripping puts on an absolute basis. Eleventh-hour bettors are especially active. In fact, it appears buy-to-open activity is transpiring at the weekly 9/4 38- and 38.50-strike calls, as speculators anticipate FEYE will sustain its upward momentum, and power through the respective strikes by tonight's close, when the weekly series expires.

This optimism isn't shared by everyone on the Street, though. Sticking with the options pits, FEYE's 50-day put/call volume ratio across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) is 0.67, just 1 percentage point shy of an annual high. In short, traders have been buying to open FEYE puts over calls at a near-extreme rate in recent months.

This bearish bias is shared by short sellers. During the two most recent reporting periods, short interest on the stock rose over 22%. As a result, 15.1% of FEYE's float is sold short, representing nearly one week's worth of pent-up buying demand, at typical volumes.

From a contrarian perspective, FireEye Inc (NASDAQ:FEYE) is in a solid position, especially if the equity can build on its year-to-date gains -- currently over 18%. Specifically, a capitulation among bearish option traders and/or short sellers could add fuel to the cybersecurity stock's fire.

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