Call Buyers Bet the Hertz Global Holdings Inc (HTZ) Rally Has Legs

Call buyers are targeting Hertz Global Holdings Inc (HTZ) as the stock goes head-to-head with an area of resistance

Jun 7, 2016 at 3:04 PM
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Hertz Global Holdings Inc (NYSE:HTZ) is trekking higher today, last seen up 5% at $11.31, on news that activist investor Carl Icahn has increased his stake in the firm to 15.24%. This follows an upward move for the stock on Monday, when the company announced it will split into two separate businesses as of July 1. In fact, HTZ has been enjoying some healthy gains lately, up 16.7% so far in June. And options action is heating up today, with many betting that the stock will keep its momentum alive.

Jumping right in, HTZ calls are trading at twice their average intraday rate, with 9,515 contracts on the tape, compared to just 3,059 puts. In fact, eight of the 10 most active options so far are calls. While a good deal of today's activity is happening in the September series, it appears some near-term traders may be purchasing new positions at the stock's June and July 12 calls. These call buyers are betting that HTZ will extend its rally above the $12 level before the front- and back-month options expire.

In one sense, today's action is a change of pace, in that options activity on HTZ has been relatively light of late. In fact, total open interest currently resides in just the 20th percentile of its annual range. But a heavy preference for calls has been the norm for several weeks. The stock has racked up a 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 15.36 -- higher than 96% of all readings in the past year.

Outside of the options pits, sentiment has also been reasonably bullish. More than half of analysts currently recommend buying HTZ, without a "sell" rating in sight. And while short interest accounts for nearly 11% of the equity's total float, this number has peeled back sharply from its August high, and represents less than four days' worth of trading, at HTZ's average daily volume.

From a technical standpoint, HTZ has a ways to go to make up for the past year's losses. The shares are down 44% year-over-year despite their recent successes. What's more, today's price action has Hertz Global Holdings Inc (NYSE:HTZ) staring down possible resistance in the $11-$12 region, which served as a roadblock for the stock during its rally in March.

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