Option Bulls Descend on Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (HA) as Stock Takes Off

Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (HA) is flying high as merger madness hits the airline sector

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Apr 4, 2016 at 3:15 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Virgin America Inc's (NASDAQ:VA) newly inked buyout agreement is rippling through the airline sector. Among the stocks being positively impacted is Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA), as Wall Street speculates the regional operator may be the next airline to field takeover offers. At last check, HA is 3.2% higher at $47.47 and fresh off a record high of $48.91, while its options are in high demand.

Diving right in, HA calls are trading at triple the expected intraday rate. In the lead is the May 45 call, which is seeing buy-to-open activity. In other words, traders foresee the stock continuing to rally north of $45 through back-month expiration, at the close on Friday, May 20.

This represents a change of pace for HA options traders. During the past 20 sessions at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculators have bought to open 1.26 puts for every call. Echoing this put-skew is the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.90, which ranks just 7 percentage points from a 52-week high.

Short sellers have been betting against Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA), too, During the last two reporting periods, short interest on the airline stock zoomed nearly 42% higher, and now accounts for 6.5% of its float. Should the shares fly higher, a capitulation among short sellers and/or option bears could translate into technical tailwinds.

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