Marriott International Inc (MAR) Option Bull Raises the Stakes

Marriott International Inc (NASDAQ:MAR) calls are hot today, with an option bull rolling her position up and out

by Karee Venema

Published on Mar 14, 2016 at 11:01 AM

Marriott International Inc (NASDAQ:MAR) is up 1.7% at $70.05, despite news that its takeover target -- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc (NYSE:HOT) -- has received a bigger buyout offer from China's Anbang Insurance Group Co. Meanwhile, MAR's options pits are buzzing -- with calls trading at eight times the expected daily rate, and outpacing puts by a nearly 3-to-1 margin.

Drilling down, the majority of the day's option activity has centered at MAR's March 67.50 and April 70 calls. It looks as if one speculator, in particular, is selling to close her front-month calls -- which were possibly initiated on Feb. 17 -- and rolling them up and out to the back-month series.

More broadly speaking, it's been put players who have been present in MAR's options arena. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the security's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.32 ranks above 62% of all comparable readings taken in the past year. Simply stated, puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-usual clip.

Echoing this put-heavy bias is MAR's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.47. Not only does this show that put open interest outweighs call open interest among options expiring in three months or less, but it sits above 71% of all comparable readings taken in the past year.

This skepticism is echoed outside of the options pits, where nearly one-fifth of MAR's float is sold short -- representing nine times the average daily trading volume. Plus, 69% of analysts maintain a "hold" or "sell" suggestion toward the shares.

Technically, Marriott International Inc (NASDAQ:MAR) has surged more than 24% since hitting an annual low of $56.43 on Jan. 20. However, today's pop is stalling out near MAR's 200-day moving average -- a trendline that served as both support and resistance last October and November.

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