Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company Skid on May Sales

Ford Motor Company (F) and General Motors Company (GM) are lower, after the automakers' May sales fell year-over-year

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jun 1, 2016 at 12:32 PM

Auto stocks Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) are struggling today, following the release of May sales data. At the same time, each stock has seen options volume jump to higher-than-expected intraday levels. Below, we'll take a closer look at the auto sales numbers, as well as their impact on the charts and options pits.

F auto sales declined nearly 6% last month, on a year-over-year basis. On the bright side, van sales achieved their best total in nearly four decades. In other news, CEO Mark Fields discussed a pair of failed partnerships yesterday at Recode's Code Conference, citing problems in "cultural fit."

The collective developments have pressured F 3.2% lower at $13.06. However, the stock has managed to find a foothold at its 120-day moving average, which has served as a level of support dating back to mid-April.

In F's options pits, intraday volume is at double the expected amount for this point in the session. The most active strike is the out-of-the-money August 12 put, where several mid- to large-sized blocks may have been bought to open earlier. If that's the case, the traders foresee a decline south of $12 for F by August expiration -- a level that hasn't been breached since February.

Longer term, Ford Motor Company option bears have been active. The stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.98 across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) rests just 8 percentage points from an annual peak.

Shifting gears, GM is hurting today, too -- down 3.1% at $30.28, after the automaker's sales dropped 18% in May. Fortunately, the $30 area is once again serving as a foothold. This could be reinforced over the short term by options-related support at the June 30 put, home to heavy open interest of nearly 23,000 contracts.

A bounce off of the key $30 level could send option bears scrambling. During the past 10 weeks at the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX, traders have bought to open 1.23 puts for each call -- a ratio ranking in the high 98th annual percentile. An unwinding of these downbeat bets could add fuel to General Motor Company's tank.

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