Options Bulls Blitz Yahoo! Inc (YHOO) Amid AT&T Speculation

Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ:YHOO) call options are trading at a quickened pace after Bloomberg sparked speculation of a potential bidding war

by Josh Selway

Published on May 25, 2016 at 1:45 PM
Updated on May 25, 2016 at 1:47 PM

Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ:YHOO) call options are trading at seven the normal intraday pace today -- with volume running in the 100th percentile of its annual range -- after Bloomberg reported AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is interested in Yahoo's Internet business. This speculation comes even as fellow telecommunications firm Verizon Communications, Inc. (NYSE:VZ) has long been thought to be the favorite in acquiring Yahoo. Plus, YHOO and AT&T just severed a long-running relationship earlier this month. 

Meanwhile, in the options pits, YHOO's June and July series have garnered the bulk of the attention. According to Trade-Alert, this is likely a result of one speculator rolling her long June 38 calls out to July, while a similar transaction occurred with YHOO's June and July 42 calls.

Elsewhere, shorter-term traders appear to be buying to open the weekly 5/27 37-strike call. In other words, they are betting on YHOO shares to rally above the strike price by the end of this week, when the weekly series expires.

YHOO call options have been more popular than normal in recent months, according to data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). The stock's 50-day call/put volume ratio across these exchanges of 3.89 outranks 83% of all readings from the past year.

Moreover, YHOO's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.22 sits just 1 percentage point from a 12-month low. In other words, short-term speculators have rarely been as call-heavy toward YHOO as they are now.

Those currently purchasing the stock's near-term options are taking advantage of relatively low YHOO premiums, with the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 33% ranking in the 27th percentile of its annual range. This suggests that unusually low volatility expectations are priced into YHOO's short-term options.

Nevertheless, Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ:YHOO) is lower today, as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's (NYSE:BABA) legal woes overshadow the reports of a potential bidding war. At last check, YHOO has dropped 3% to trade at $36.39, as the shares continue to consolidate between $36 and $38. Year-to-date, though, the stock is up about 9%. 

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