Ford Motor Company (F) March Sales Inspire Option Bears

Despite better-than-expected March sales, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is trading lower today

by Josh Selway

Published on Apr 1, 2016 at 10:32 AM
Updated on Apr 1, 2016 at 10:34 AM

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is down 3% today at $13.10, despite news the company posted its best March sales in 10 years. The stock is now down close to 19% in the past 12 months. This price action likely suits many traders just fine, though, as there's no shortage of pessimism toward F both in and out of the options arena. 

For starters, there's a big bearish setup in the stock's options pits. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), F's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.05 is just 2 percentage points from an annual high. Plus, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) is 1.49, putting it in the 96th percentile of its annual range.

Today, in fact, put volume has jumped to six times the expected intraday rate, with F's April 13 strike seeing the majority of the action. It looks like one speculator, in particular, bought to open a massive block of 21,224 April 13 puts for $509,376 (number of contracts * $0.24 premium paid * 100 shares per contract) to bet that F will retreat south of $13 by front-month options expiration at the close on Friday, April 15.

Elsewhere, short interest has been edging higher on the stock recently, increasing 19.1% during the last two reporting periods. Short sellers now control roughly 156 million F shares -- the highest level in over three years -- and, at average daily volumes, it'd take these bears nearly a week to cover. 

Analysts, meanwhile, are mostly split on Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F). Specifically, seven analysts recommend buying the stock, while six others consider it a "hold" or "strong sell." 

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