Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (KORS) Option Buyers Strike While the Fire's Hot

Short-term volatility expectations are currently low on Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS)

Mar 9, 2016 at 2:33 PM
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It's been quite a ride for Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS)​, adding back almost 67% since the retail stock bottomed at a three-year low of $34.83 on Jan. 20. While a post-earnings bull gap in early February helped push the shares through previous congestion in the $44-to-$45 region, the shares are up 2.5% today, at $58.11 -- in year-to-date-high territory -- after Jyske Bank initiated coverage with a "buy" rating and $65 price target. Option traders, meanwhile, have been quick to climb on board KORS' bullish bandwagon.

This afternoon, for example, calls are crossing at 1.8 times what's typically seen at this point in the day -- and are outpacing puts by a more than 2-to-1 ratio. Most active is KORS' March 55.50 call, where it seems safe to assume new positions are being purchased. In other words, speculative players expect the stock to continue its climb through next Friday's close, when front-month options expire.

This bullish positioning just echoes a growing trend in KORS' options pits. In fact, at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the security's 10-day call/put volume ratio has jumped to 1.98 from 0.85 over the past two weeks, and now ranks in the 61st annual percentile.

Echoing this call-skewed bias is KORS' front-month gamma-weighted Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.46. This suggests that near-the-money calls more than double puts among options expiring in the monthly March series.

Now seems like an opportune time to buy KORS' near-term options, considering premium is pricing in relatively low volatility expectations. Specifically, the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 34% sits in the 25th annual percentile, while its 30-day at-the-money implied volatility of 31.4% rests below 72% of comparable readings taken in the past year.

Additionally, Michael Kors Holdings Ltd's (NYSE:KORS) Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) is docked at a lofty 89. Simply stated, the stock has tended to make outsized moves, relative to what the options market has priced in.

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