Calls Hot as Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) Shifts Focus

Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) will combine its information systems and government divisions with Leidos Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:LDOS)

Jan 26, 2016 at 11:51 AM
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It's a busy day on the M&A front. While the financial sector is digesting a big regional buyout and the solar sector is mulling over David Einhorn's latest push, the aerospace and defense sector is reacting to news of its own. Specifically, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) said it will combine its information systems and government divisions with Leidos Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:LDOS) in a deal valued at roughly $5 billion, as it looks to go back to its roots. LMT also unveiled stronger-than-forecast fourth-quarter earnings, and upwardly revised its full-year sales forecast.

In the wake of these fundamental developments, LMT's options pits are hot, with overall volume running at five times the average intraday pace. Calls are the options of choice, and are outpacing puts by a healthy margin. Two of the equity's most active options are the February 205 and 210 calls, where it looks like one speculator may be rolling down her bullish bet or initiating a long call spread in the front-month series.

Widening the sentiment scope reveals a longer-term bullish bias among LMT option traders. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 1.59 ranks in the 82nd annual percentile. Simply stated, calls have been bought to open over puts at a faster-than-usual clip in recent months.

Echoing this is LMT's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.82, which sits lower than 81% of all comparable readings taken over the past year. In other words, speculative players are more call-heavy than usual among options set to expire in three months or less.

Not everyone on the Street has taken such a rosy stance toward LMT, though, with more than half of the analysts covering the shares maintaining a "hold" or "strong sell" rating. Such negative positioning toward a stock that's rallied nearly 13% from its Aug. 24 annual low of $181.91 could help buoy LMT down the road. Should the stock resume its longer-term uptrend, a round of upgrades could create a fresh burst of buying power.

Although the shares of LMT are down 2.8% at $205.12 today, they have found a firm foothold atop their 200-day moving average. This trendline has helped usher Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) higher for nearly three years.

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