Short-Term Traders Keep the Faith in Twitter Inc (TWTR)

Twitter Inc (TWTR) is reportedly close to debuting 10,000-character tweets

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jan 5, 2016 at 3:14 PM

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) calls have been mighty popular of late. However, those option traders could be kicking rocks today, as TWTR sinks amid reports of a new 10,000-character feature for the microblogging site.

At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have bought to open nearly four TWTR calls for every put during the past 10 days. The resultant call/put volume ratio of 3.91 ranks in the 94th percentile of its annual range, hinting at a healthier-than-usual appetite for long calls of late.

Echoing this, TWTR's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) rests at a 12-month low of 0.47. In other words, short-term open interest has never been more call-skewed in the past year, with calls more than doubling puts.

In today's options pits, though, calls and puts are trading near parity. Most active in the front-month series is the January 2016 22-strike call, where nearly 4,000 contracts are on the tape. It looks like traders are buying to open these calls, expecting TWTR to bounce off the $22 level by the close on Friday, Jan. 15, when the strike expires.

Apparently, these bullish bettors aren't deterred by the stock's technical struggles. The shares are currently off 2.3% at $22.05 -- within points of an all-time low -- and have lost well over half their value since touching an annual high of $53.49 in early April. Given TWTR's long-term trouble on the charts, and the fact that 11% of its float is sold short, call buyers -- especially those targeting out-of-the-money strikes -- may actually be short sellers seeking protection.

Desperate to reverse this trend (and boost engagement), Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is going to build a feature allowing users to write 10,000-character tweets, according to a Re/code report. The social media firm also announced the implementation of "conversational ads" featuring "call to action buttons" and customizable hashtags.

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