Monsanto Company (MON) Option Bulls Bet On a Breakout

Monsanto Company (MON) calls are running at five times the expected intraday clip

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Mar 8, 2016 at 2:53 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) calls are flying off the shelves today. Roughly 19,000 contracts are on the tape, five times the average intraday rate. Far and away the most active strike is the out-of-the-money April 95 call, which option traders are buying to open -- expecting MON will topple $95 by back-month expiration, at the close on Friday, April 15.

This is more of the same for MON option traders. Over the last 10 sessions at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculators have bought to open nearly four calls for each put on the agricultural products company. The resultant call/put volume ratio of 3.73 registers at an annual high.

Elsewhere in the sentiment arena, short interest has been falling off rapidly. During the latest reporting period, short interest dropped 18%, and now accounts for just 2.3% of MON's total float.

Today, MON is handily outperforming the broader market, up 1.2% at $89.58, after the European Union (EU) deferred its approval for glyphosate -- an ingredient used in MON's Roundup. However, since its most recent high of $100.56 in late December, the stock has surrendered 11% of its value.

What's more, Monsanto Company's (NYSE:MON) intraday advance is being contained by its 40-day moving average, suggesting a short-term burst past $95 may be unlikely. In fact, delta on the aforementioned call rests at just 0.26, meaning the market is giving the option a roughly 1-in-4 chance of being in the money at expiration.

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