Most Active Options Update: Chevron Corporation (CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM)

Option traders have been on the right side of Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)

by Karee Venema

Published on Jan 15, 2016 at 11:04 AM
Updated on Jan 15, 2016 at 11:07 AM

The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest 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 names of notable interest are oil issues Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM).

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Crude oil is taking it on the chin today, sending energy stocks into a tailspin. Following yesterday's big wins, oil issues CVX and XOM were down a respective 3.6% and 2.7% -- most likely music to the ears of option traders. In fact, in CVX's options pits, speculators at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open 2.38 puts for every call over the past 10 sessions. What's more, this ratio rests in the 94th annual percentile, meaning puts have rarely been bought to open over calls at a quicker clip.

In today's session, puts are flying off the shelves at two times what's typically seen at this point in the day, with the majority of the action centered at CVX's February 82.50 strike. It seems safe to assume a fresh batch of bearish bets is being initiated, as speculators gamble on Chevron Corporation extending its slide south of $82.50 through the close on Friday, Feb. 19. Earlier, the stock hit an intraday low of $80.87, but was last seen lingering near $82.44.

Meanwhile, XOM puts are outpacing calls by a healthy margin this morning. A number of speculators are focusing on the March 75 put. It appears as if the options are being bought to open, meaning traders expect XOM to tumble below $75 by March options expiration. Most recently, the shares were hovering around $77.02.

Widening the sentiment scope reveals today's put-skewed session is just more of the same. Exxon Mobil Corporation boasts a 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 2.12 -- in the 81st percentile of its annual range. Echoing this is the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.58, which ranks above 85% of all comparable readings taken in the past year. Simply stated, short-term speculators are more put-heavy than usual.


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