Most Active Weekly Options: JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc

Put buyers have been setting up camp on JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C)

by Karee Venema

Published on Feb 12, 2016 at 11:27 AM

The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest total weekly options volume during the past 10 trading days. Stocks 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 notable names are financial stocks JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C).

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Put buyers have been active in JPM's options pits in recent months, per the equity's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.89 -- in the 96th annual percentile. Simply stated, puts have been bought to open over calls at a near-annual-high clip.

Today, put volume is running at three times the average intraday rate, and with 29,033 contracts on the tape at last check, it's on pace to set a new annual high. Among the most active on the put side is the weekly 3/24 52 strike, which appears to be involved in a broader three-way spread with JPM's weekly 3/24 57- and 61-strike calls.

Technically, JPMorgan Chase & Co. has struggled along with the broader banking sector this week, and hit a nearly six-month low in yesterday's sell-off. Today, however, the stock has surged 6.9% to $56.72 -- and is the leading Dow component -- following reports of a big vote of confidence from the company's CEO Jamie Dimon.

Buying puts has become increasingly popular in C's options pits of late. At the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX, for example, the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio has jumped to 0.81 from 0.33 in the past two weeks. What's more, the current ratio rests in the 87th percentile of its annual range.

In fact, over the past 10 sessions, the security's February 28 put has seen the largest rise in open interest, with 21,275 contracts added. This is followed by the September 40 put and the March 35 put, where a respective 19,859 contracts and 16,973 contracts have been initiated.

On the charts, Citigroup Inc has surrendered more than one-third of its value since hitting its most recent high of $56.46 in early November -- and notched a three-year low of $34.52 yesterday. Today, though, the stock is getting a big boost from its sector peer, up 5.8% at $37.02.

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