Most Active Weekly Options: Intel Corporation and Yahoo! Inc.

Ahead of earnings, options traders have been taking different paths toward Intel Corporation (INTC) and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Apr 18, 2016 at 12:11 PM

The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest total weekly options volume during the past 10 trading days. Stocks highlighted are new to the list since the last time the study was run, and data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. Two notable names are tech stocks Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), with the respective companies gearing up to report first-quarter earnings tomorrow evening.

most active options April 18

INTC is slated to report earnings tomorrow night, and ahead of the quarterly report, options traders have been betting bearishly. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have bought to open nearly two puts for every call during the last two weeks. The resultant put/call volume ratio of 1.72 ranks in the 73rd annual percentile, echoing the negativity witnessed among short sellers.

In today's trading, INTC puts and calls are trading near parity. The most active weekly options are the 4/22 31.50- and 32-strike puts, both of which may be seeing buy-to-open activity. If so, these put buyers are counting on the tech stock to drop after earnings, and finish below the respective strike prices at Friday's close, when the weekly series expires.

At last check, Intel Corporation is 0.3% higher at $31.54, as a positive write-up by Barron's overshadows a price-target cut to $37 from $38 at Summit Research. Longer term, however, the tech stock has been consolidating in the $31-$33 area since mid-March, and is sitting on a year-to-date loss exceeding 8% -- suggesting the aforementioned skepticism isn't necessarily misplaced.

Meanwhile, YHOO is off 0.2% at $36.45, as multiple media reports suggest Verizon Communications, Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is the leading takeover candidate among those jockeying for the Internet pioneer. On the charts, YHOO has been blistering higher since its February lows, but was recently halted by its 320-day moving average.

Options traders believe YHOO's uptrend will resume. The stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 3.15 outstrips nearly three-quarters of readings from the past year, with long calls more than tripling puts. However, the firm's earnings history shows the stock has moved lower in the session subsequent to its last five reports, with an average one-day loss of 3.1%.

In today's trading, the most active weekly option is the 4/22 34-strike put. However, the most popular option overall is the June 37 call, where traders may be buying fresh positions in the hopes of Yahoo! Inc. toppling $37 over the next two months. The stock hasn't ended a week north of that strike since last July.

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