Most Active Options: Apple Inc. and Tesla Motors Inc

Weekly option traders have set their sights on Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Dec 3, 2015 at 2:18 PM

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 iPhone maker Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and electric car concern Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA).

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While one of its chip supplier surges on upbeat earnings, AAPL's stock has succumbed to broad-market headwinds, last seen 1.2% lower at $1114.94. Of course, it's been an uneventful past few weeks for the shares, which have been see-sawing between $110 and $120 since early September.

That hasn't stopped traders from targeting weekly options. During the past two weeks, seven of the 10 AAPL strikes seeing the largest changes in open interest have been weekly in nature. Today, the top three options are the weekly 12/4 116-, 117-, and 118-strike calls, where buy-to-open activity is detected. In other words, short-term speculators are counting on AAPL finishing north of the respective strikes at tomorrow's close, when the series expires.

Call buying, generally speaking, has been the strategy of choice on Apple Inc. options. According to the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have bought to open more than two times as many call as puts during the last 10 sessions. The corresponding call/put volume ratio of 2.16 outranks two-thirds of comparable readings from the past year.

Meanwhile, in TSLA's options pits, it looks like some traders are selling to open the weekly 12/4 240-strike call, expecting the overhead level to act as resistance through tomorrow's close. Short-term bulls, meanwhile, may be purchasing fresh positions at the weekly 12/4 237.50-strike call.

Looking at the front three-months' series, though, there's been a distinct preference for puts over calls. TSLA's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.42 indicates put open interest outstrips call open interest, when looking at short-term contracts. What's more, this SOIR rests in the high 78th percentile of its annual range.

Short sellers have displayed a healthy amount of skepticism, too. Nearly 27% of TSLA's float is sold short, which would take more than one week to buy back, at average daily volumes.

On the charts, Tesla Motors Inc is up 1.1% today at $234.51, but remains 5.6% lower on the quarter. Looking more closely, a recent rally in the shares has been contained this week by the equity's 100-day moving average.

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