Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (LL) Breakout Entices Option Bulls

Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (LL) is getting a boost from the Department of Justice, and call buyers are responding

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Feb 1, 2016 at 1:54 PM
Updated on Feb 1, 2016 at 2:10 PM

Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (NYSE:LL) call options are flying off the shelves this afternoon, as the stock charges higher on a $13.2 million settlement with the Department of Justice. By the numbers, 14,000 calls are on the tape, compared to an expected intraday volume of roughly 1,000, while just 1,300 puts have been exchanged.

According to Trade-Alert, the out-of-the-money February 15 call -- which is LL's most active strike by a mile -- is seeing buy-to-open activity. By purchasing these options, the traders believe LL will topple $15 by front-month expiration, at the close on Friday, Feb. 19.

Thanks to today's surge, delta on the call has risen to 0.30 from 0.20 at Friday's close, hinting at a greater probability of an in-the-money finish. Earlier today, in fact, LL jumped as high as $15.08, but was last seen 4% higher at $13.43.

Today's penchant for call buying represents a break from the norm, based on data at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). For instance, nearly seven LL puts have been bought to open for each call during the past two weeks across those exchanges. The resultant 10-day put/call volume ratio of 6.67 sits just 2 percentage points from a 12-month high.

Echoing this, LL's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) comes in at 2.73, with put open interest nearly tripling call open interest among options expiring in the next three months. What's more, this ratio outranks 94% of all others from the prior year.

Skeptics abound elsewhere on Wall Street, too. A lofty 34.1% of LL's float is sold short, which would take over one week to cover, at average daily volumes. Also, 10 of 12 analysts consider the shares worthy of a tepid "hold" opinion.

It's no wonder pessimism levels are so high. While today's gains are impressive, Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (NYSE:LL) has still lost 79% year-over-year. More recently, during the last month, the stock has underperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by almost 22 percentage points.

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