Most Active Weekly Options: Freeport-McMoRan Inc and SolarCity Corp

Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX) and SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) are seeing a rare surge in call volume

by Karee Venema

Published on May 23, 2016 at 11:04 AM

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 mining firm Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX) and alternative energy stock SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY).

Most Active Options May 23

Put players have set their sights on FCX in recent months, per the stock's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 1.02 -- in the 92nd annual percentile. What's more, while FCX total open interest of roughly 2.5 million options is docked at a 52-week peak, puts outweigh calls by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

Today, however, calls have the early lead over puts, with the former trading at nearly two times the latter. While most of the action has centered on the June 12 call, the weekly 5/27 series is hot, accounting for six of FCX's 10 most active options. Put players appear to be initiating short positions at the weekly 5/27 10 strike, while call players look to be purchasing new positions at the weekly 5/27 11 strike.

On the charts, FCX has more than tripled since hitting a 15-year low of $3.52 in late January. More recently, though, the shares have drifted lower following a swift rejection near the $14 mark -- last seen down 0.1% at $11.09, after Freeport-McMoRan Inc's oil-and-gas division suspended plans to go public.

Puts have been popular on SCTY, too. At the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX, for instance, the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.71 rests higher than 78% of all comparable readings taken in the past year. Echoing this is SCTY's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.77 -- in the 76th percentile of its annual range. In other words, short-term speculators are more put-heavy than usual toward the security.

This morning, though, calls are crossing at 1.3 times the average intraday clip, while puts are trading below the expected intraday amount. Although absolute volume is still relatively light in early trading, it looks like one option bull is rolling her weekly 5/27 22-strike call up to the 22.50 strike, expecting SCTY to rally through week's end -- when the series expires.

At last check, SCTY was up 5.7% at $23.21, but today's positive price action should be taken with a grain of salt amid the stock's longer-term trajectory. Specifically, SolarCity Corp has shed 55% year-to-date, and came within a chip-shot of notching a new multi-year low following its post-earnings bear gap earlier this month.

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