EMC Corporation (EMC) Bulls Up the Ante as M&A Hype Builds

Dell is expected to formalize a buyout offer for EMC Corporation (EMC) early next week

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Oct 9, 2015 at 2:48 PM

EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC) is up nearly 2% at $27.70, amid rumblings that a Dell buyout offer is expected early next week, and could be worth upwards of $30 per share. Option traders are responding to the hype, with calls crossing the tape at roughly triple the expected afternoon rate.

Looking more closely, the most active strike is the now in-the-money October 27 call. Based on the volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.73, those purchasing new positions here expect EMC to topple breakeven at $27.73 (strike plus VWAP) by next Friday's close, when front-month options expire. Meanwhile, longer-term bulls may be buying to open the January 2016 28-strike call in the hopes of even greater upside over the next several months.

Today's preference for calls over puts is par for the course, as far as EMC traders are concerned. During the last two weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the hardware stock has seen over four calls bought to open for every put. The resultant call/put volume ratio of 4.18 ranks near the top quartile of its annual range.

Echoing this, EMC Corporatin's (NYSE:EMC) Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) registers at 0.36, with call open interest nearly tripling put open interest among options with a shelf-life of three months or less. More significantly, this SOIR sits below 94% of comparable readings from the prior year, suggesting the penchant for short-term calls over puts is historically pronounced.

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