Most Active Weekly Options: Apple Inc. and Netflix, Inc.

Put players have targeted Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), while call traders have been busy with Netflix, Inc. (NFLX)

Feb 17, 2016 at 12:22 PM
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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 iPhone parent Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and streaming video stock Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX).

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While there have been plenty of bulls in AAPL's options pits of late, recent action has seen an increase in put players. Specifically, the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) is 0.78, higher than 95% of annual readings. This means long puts have been more popular than normal lately, compared to long calls

Today, although volume is running at lower-than-average levels for this time of the day, the equity's most active option is the February 96 put. According to the ISE, some of the day's activity is of the buy-to-open kind, meaning speculative players expect AAPL to sink south of $96 by this Friday's close.

At last check, the shares were up 0.5% at $97.11, amid Apple Inc.'s roughly $12 billion bond sale -- and despite reports that Carl Icahn and David Einhorn each reduced their stake in AAPL in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the privacy battle between D.C. and tech companies is heating up after AAPL CEO Tim Cook opposed an order by a federal judge to unlock the phone of one of the suspects in the San Bernadino terror attack.

NFLX, meanwhile, has seen its options pits dominated by call players in recent months. Echoing this call-skewed backdrop is the security's SOIR -- which measures all open interest in the front three-months' series of options -- of 0.89. What's more, this ratio sits below 94% of all comparable readings taken in the past year, meaning short-term speculators have rarely been as call-heavy toward NFLX as they are now.

In the front-month series, peak call open interest of 25,151 contracts resides at the stock's February 110 call -- which is also NFLX's largest open interest contract. Drilling down, it appears the majority of contracts were initiated as part of a larger straddle with the equity's February 110 put -- home to peak front-month put open interest -- on Jan. 19.

Technically, NFLX has put in a stellar performance over the past 52 weeks, up 36.4%. Today, the shares have rallied 4% to trade at $92.60, as they extend their lead over their 20-month moving average. This trendline contained the equity's pullback from its Dec. 7 all-time high at $133.27, and coincides with double Netflix, Inc.'s 2011 highs.

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