Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) Negative Note Brings Out Rare Crop of Bulls

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) calls are trading at three times the average intraday pace today

Karee Venema
Sep 8, 2015 at 3:00 PM
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Similar to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) is bucking the broad-market trend higher today, last seen down 0.6% at $31.39. Pressuring the shares is a price-target cut to $51 from $55 at Morgan Stanley -- which also chimed in on Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) -- but this hasn't stopped call players from piling into the equity's options pits.

In fact, calls are trading at three times what's typically seen at this point in the day, and outpacing puts by a more than 2-to-1 margin. The stock's weekly 9/11 call series is hot, with sell-to-open activity detected at the 33, 34, and 34.50 strikes, and buy-to-open action occurring at the 32.50 and 33.50 strikes.

By writing the calls to open, the goal is for YHOO to remain below the strike prices through this Friday's close, allowing the options to expire worthless. Those initiating the long calls, however, are betting on the security to break out above the strike prices over the next few days.

Elsewhere, slightly more intermediate-term traders are purchasing new positions at YHOO's September 34.50 call for a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.29. Based on this average entry price, breakeven for these call buyers is $34.79 (strike plus VWAP) -- territory not seen by YHOO in roughly three weeks.

Today's accelerated call activity runs in stark contrast to the withstanding trend seen in YHOO's options pits. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.63 sits higher than all other similar readings taken in the past 52 weeks. Simply stated, puts have been bought to open over calls at an annual-high clip in recent weeks.

Echoing this is YHOO's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.86 -- in the top percentile of its annual range. In other words, short-term speculators are more put-heavy now toward the security than they've been at any other point over the last 12 months.

This negative outlook isn't too surprising, considering Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) has surrendered nearly 38% of its value year-to-date. Additionally, along the same lines as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), the shares bottomed at annual low of $29 on Aug. 24, but found a foothold atop their 40-month moving average.

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