Mobileye NV (MBLY) Collapse Brings Out Option Bears

Mobileye NV (MBLY) has lost more than one-fifth of its value in the last three days

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Sep 11, 2015 at 11:45 AM

Mobileye NV (NYSE:MBLY) is getting demolished for the third straight day, following harsh words from short-selling aficionado Citron Research earlier this week. Specifically, the firm said there was "nothing in the company's financials, business performance or realistic future prospects" to warrant a $12 billion market cap, while setting a short-term price target of $25 and long-term target of $10. At last check, MBLY was down 7% at $41.45, and has surrendered 21% of its value since Tuesday's close.

Amid this turmoil, the stock's put volume is running at nearly five times the expected intraday rate. By the numbers, 16,000 puts are on the tape, compared to just over 6,300 calls. Digging deeper, short-term bears are buying to open the September 40 put, while slightly longer-term skeptics are purchasing fresh positions at the October 35 put. In other words, the put buyers anticipate MBLY will breach the out-of-the-money strikes by the respective expiration dates -- at the close next Friday, Sept. 18, and Friday, Oct. 16.

Today's propensity for long puts over calls is business as usual, per data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Specifically, MBLY's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 2.87 indicates traders have bought to open nearly three times as many puts as calls over the past two weeks. What's more, this ratio represents an annual high, meaning the pace of bearish betting has never been faster in the last 12 months.

Echoing this negativity, Mobileye NV's (NYSE:MBLY) Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at 1.35 -- near the top quartile of its annual range. Additionally, 11.6% of the stock's float is sold short, or more than five times the usual daily pace of trading.

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