Option Volume Explodes on White-Hot Time Warner Inc (TWX)

Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) has mysteriously shot up the charts today

by Josh Selway

Published on Jan 6, 2016 at 2:04 PM

What is going on with Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX)? While most stocks are drowning in red ink, the media giant is one of the top performing S&P 500 Index (SPX) stocks today. At last check, the shares were 4.2% higher at $68.27 -- on pace to close above their 30-day moving average for the first time since Nov. 4, amid unconfirmed rumors the company launched a new ad platform. Regardless, this positive price action has brought in a flurry of option activity.

The surge in TWX option volume actually began on Monday, with call volume ending three times higher than average. And things are even more startling today, with calls crossing at over 12 times the normal intraday pace. In fact, the more than 55,000 calls that have changed hands already mark a 12-month high for TWX. According to Trade-Alert, much of today's activity has been driven by a possible long call spread being initiated at the July 70 and 77.50 strikes. To put all of this in simpler terms, traders are betting on TWX to surge higher in the months ahead. 

This bullish bias is underscored by data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). TWX's 50-day call/put volume ratio across these exchanges is 8.38 -- higher than four-fifths of readings from the past year. If that wasn't enough, call open interest among options that expire within three months almost triples put open interest. This is according to the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.35. 

Optimism reigns outside the options pits, as well. Looking at analysts, 15 of the 22 that cover Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) say it's at least a "buy," while none call it a "sell." Additionally, the average 12-month price target is $84.45 -- a nearly 24% premium to current levels.

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