Analyst Note Prompts Mad Dash for Home Depot Inc (HD) Calls

Option traders are betting on Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) to hit new highs by week's end

Josh Selway
Nov 24, 2015 at 2:39 PM
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Thanks to a strong showing in the earnings confessional last week, Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) has been knocking out new high after new high. It's no different today, as shares of the home improvement retailer hit an all-time peak of $133.93, and were last seen up 0.9% at $133.64. Prompting today's upward move was a price-target hike at Atlantic Equities to $154 from $133. This level represents expected upside of over 15% to the current price. So far in 2015, HD has added 27.3%. 

Given this technical strength, the security has attracted more bearish analyst attention than one might expect. For instance, 44% of covering brokerage firms still rate the blue chip just a "hold." Additionally, HD's average 12-month price target sits within a chip-shot at $136.77. 

Over the past few weeks, there's also been a healthy amount of skepticism in HD's option pits. According to the stock's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 1.00, the pace of put buying has matched that of call buying in recent months. What's more, this ratio has only been bested 13% of the time during the past 12 months. Echoing this, the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stands at 1.26. This tells us that there's a heavier accumulation of put open interest than call open interest among the stock's front three-months' series of options.

It's a different setup in today's trading, with calls changing hands at two times the average afternoon rate, and outpacing puts handily. Leading the way is the weekly 11/27 135-strike call, and it appears traders are buying it to open. By doing so, they're betting on HD to extend its run for record highs through week's end, when the contracts expire. 

Another group of traders has been bracing for extended gains ahead for the shares. During the most recent reporting period, short interest on Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) fell by almost 17%. Less than 1% of the stock's float is now controlled by short sellers. But might these bears have gotten out too early? HD's 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) sits at 72 -- in overbought territory -- suggesting a pullback may transpire in the not-too-distant future.

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