Most Active Weekly Options: Amazon.com, Inc. and General Electric Company

Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) and General Electric Company (GE) have been targeted by weekly options traders in recent weeks

Nov 23, 2015 at 12:17 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. Stocks 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 online retail giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and blue-chip conglomerate General Electric Company (NYSE:GE).

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With the biggest shopping day of the year coming up at the end of this week, it's no surprise that speculators have been eyeing AMZN lately. Option volume on the retailer currently arrives in the 92nd percentile of its annual range, according to Trade-Alert -- indicating a healthier-than-usual appetite for AMZN options.

The top open interest position in AMZN overall is the January 2017 300-strike call, with 11,863 long-term bets in residence. Among weekly options, the top spot goes to the weekly 11/27 680-strike call, where 2,610 contracts have been amassed. According to data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), most of these soon-to-expire AMZN calls were sold to open -- suggesting traders think AMZN will end this week at or below $680 per share.

In today's session, AMZN is trading right at this strike, currently up 1.8% at $680.18. In fact, the stock earlier touched a new record high of $681.38, having more than doubled from its November 2014 close at $338.64.

As for GE, the stock's surging open interest has been a remarkable story in recent weeks. While open interest has cooled off a bit since last Friday's monthly options expiration, there are still 2.20 million calls and 1.67 million puts outstanding on GE, with both of those numbers arriving in the lofty 90th percentile of their respective annual ranges.

The top open interest position in the weekly 11/27 series is GE's 30.50-strike put, with 23,648 contracts in residence. Shares of the industrial giant are down fractionally to trade at $30.59, so these bets are currently right at the money.

From a broader perspective, GE's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio stands at 1.07, in the 90th annual percentile. This recent preference for bearish bets coincides with a run by GE shares to their highest point since June 2008, so it's possible that some of this activity has been driven by shareholders looking to lock in paper profits and hedge against a near-term pullback.
 

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