Most Active Weekly Options: Apache Corporation and Transocean LTD

Weekly option traders have been streaming toward Apache Corporation (APA) and Transocean LTD (RIG)

Alex Eppstein
Oct 5, 2015 at 3:02 PM
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The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest total weekly 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 notable names are energy issues Apache Corporation (NYSE:APA) and Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG).

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APA is up 4% this afternoon at $44.30, amid a bounce in energy prices -- sparked by Russia's openness to speaking with other oil producers about the state of the market. The shares are now on track for their first finish above the 50-day moving average since early May. However, from a longer-term perspective, the stock has surrendered 29% in 2015.

Option bears have had APA in their crosshairs of late. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity has racked up a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.02 -- in the 78th percentile of its annual range. Echoing this put-bias, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 2.05 registers in the 91st percentile of its 52-week range -- with short-term put open interest more than doubling call open interest.

Likewise, analysts have blazed a bearish path toward Apache Corporation. Specifically, 13 of 22 brokerages rate the security a "hold" or worse. In other words, the technical underperformer is no stranger to detractors.

RIG, too, has been met with doubt on Wall Street. The stock's SOIR of 4.97 indicates put positions nearly quintuple call positions among strikes expiring in the next three months. If that's not enough, this ratio ranks above all but 12% of comparable readings taken in the past 12 months. Today, in fact, the security's most active options are the weekly 10/9 13.50- and 14.50-strike puts.

To make matters worse, not a single analyst tracking the equity has handed out anything better than a "hold" assessment. In fact, RBC -- weighing in on a number of energy firms -- earlier slashed its price target on RIG to $14 from $17. Plus, 32.2% of the stock's float is sold short, representing about nine days' worth of trading, at typical volumes.

Transocean LTD's performance suggests these skeptics are in the right. While the shares have surged over 8% today at $14.67, they've still lost one-fifth of their value year-to-date. RIG's advance so far this afternoon has been contained by its declining 20-week trendline.

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