Option Bears Pounce as Antitrust Concerns Level QUALCOMM (QCOM)

QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM) has touched a new four-year low amid brewing antitrust issues in South Korea

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Nov 18, 2015 at 10:45 AM

QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) is getting roasted once again this morning, as the telecom titan faces potential fines from South Korean regulators due to antitrust concerns. At last check, the stock was down 8.2% at $48.62, and fresh off a four-year low of $48.52. Not surprisingly, option bears are on the prowl.

Specifically, 23,000 QCOM puts are already on the tape -- roughly five times what's expected at this point in the session. Moreover, possible buy-to-open activity may be transpiring at the now in-the-money December 50 put, as speculators wager on additional downside through back-month expiration, at the close on Friday, Dec. 18. Even if QCOM bounces back above the half-century mark by expiration, the put buyers can rest easy knowing the most they've risked is the initial premium paid.

Speaking of put buying, the strategy has been popular in recent months. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), QCOM has accumulated a 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.63 -- outstripping more than three-quarters of comparable readings taken in the last 12 months.

It's hard to blame option traders for betting so bearishly. As discussed earlier, QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) has been an unmitigated disaster on the charts, and was recently flattened by a downbeat earnings report. In 2015 alone, the stock has given up one-third of its value.


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