Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) and the Six-Figure Bullish Bet

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) is rallying after naming a new president and chief merchandising officer, attracting a big option bet

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Dec 22, 2015 at 11:37 AM

The shares of retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) have jumped 6% to $27.08, as traders cheer a new president and chief merchandising officer and the company's assurance that it's on track for a sequential improvement in current-quarter sales. What's more, it looks like one options trader placed a six-figure bet to gamble on more upside for ANF during this shortened holiday week.

ANF calls are trading at twice the average intraday clip, and have outnumbered puts by a margin of nearly 5-to-1. Most of the action transpired in one fell swoop, when a block of 4,000 weekly 12/24 26-strike calls crossed for $0.52 apiece.

Assuming the calls were bought to open, the trader paid a total of $208,000 ($0.52 x 100 shares per contract x 4,000 contracts) -- excluding brokerage fees -- and will profit the higher ANF soars atop $26.52 (strike plus premium paid) through Thursday's early close, when the weekly options expire. Risk, meanwhile, is limited to the initial premium paid, should the calls expire out of the money.

That risk is relatively low, though. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 45% stands higher than just 16% of all other readings from the past year. In other words, ANF's short-term options are attractively priced right now, from a historical volatility standpoint.

In light of ANF's rally, delta on the call more than doubled overnight, to 0.83 from 0.33. Simply put, the options now have about a 83% chance of expiring in the money.

Today's affinity for ANF calls marks a major shift for the options crowd. In fact, today's intraday put/call volume ratio of 0.24 stands higher than just 7% of all other readings from the past year, according to Trade-Alert.

Echoing that, ANF sports a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 8.46 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This ratio not only indicates that traders have bought to open more than eight ANF puts for every call during the past two weeks, it also sits in the 99th percentile of its annual range, pointing to a much healthier-than-usual appetite for long puts over calls.

On the charts, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) has skyrocketed more than 75% since touching an annual low of $15.42 in late August, just before blowing past earnings expectations. The shares have added 27.8% in the fourth quarter alone, and a continued rally could spook quite a few bears. Short interest accounts for 36.2% of ANF's total available float, and just six of 19 analysts offer up "buy" or better ratings.

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