VirnetX Holding Corporation (VHC) Rally Brings Bulls to the Options Pits

Cybersecurity stock VirnetX Holding Corporation (VHC) saw an unusual rush of call buying

Apr 26, 2016 at 3:58 PM
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Cybersecurity stock VirnetX Holding Corporation (NYSEMKT:VHC) is 13.2% higher at $5.04 today, breaking through resistance in the $4.50-$5 region. This area has contained VHC's upside momentum during the past few weeks, with its 120-day moving average providing support. The stock has almost doubled in 2016, but has closed the bull gap it enjoyed after a lawsuit against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) came out in VHC's favor. Today -- and just ahead of AAPL earnings -- traders are taking to the options pits, picking up bullish VHC bets at a faster-than-usual clip.

VHC Daily Chart

Specifically call options are crossing the tape at 11 times the typical intraday rate, with nearly 5,000 traded so far, compared to 712 puts. In fact, call volume is on pace to finish the day in the 99th percentile of its annual range.

The most active option by far is VHC's May 6 call, where it appears speculators have been buying to open new positions. These call buyers are targeting a move above the $6 level by the front-month option's expiration, on Friday, May 20.

Near-term option buyers may be getting a bargain today, too. The equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 106% is in the low 15th percentile of its 12-month range, meaning short-term options are pricing in relatively low volatility expectations at the moment.

Today's penchant for long calls is a change of pace for VHC, however. Over the previous 10 sessions on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have bought to open 1.86 VHC puts for each call. The resulting 10-day put/call volume ratio is higher than all other readings taken in the last year.

Pessimism has been high outside of the options pits, as well. Short interest on VHC rose by about 21% over the past month, and now accounts for 27.6% of the stock's total float. At VHC's average daily pace, it would take nearly 12 sessions to buy back all these shorted shares. An unwinding of bearish sentiment in and out of the options pits could add more fuel to VirnetX Holding Corporation's (NYSEMKT:VHC) rally.

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