Most Active Weekly Options: Apple Inc. and Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc

Weekly call options have been popular on Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jun 9, 2016 at 3:13 PM

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 of interest are iPhone parent Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and biotech stock Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX).

most active weekly options june 9

AAPL is making headlines today, with Carl Icahn's thoughts garnering the most attention. While concerned about stocks more generally, Icahn said he'd buy Apple shares if he "felt more secure about China." Separately, ahead of the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next week, the tech titan will begin displaying search ads for apps in its newly updated iOS App Store. Also on the news front, the U.S. Justice Department is attempting to get the Supreme Court to overturn a court ruling on patent rights that favored AAPL over Samsung.

Wall Street is reacting positively to the developments, taken as a whole -- with AAPL stock up 0.7% at $99.65. However, on a year-to-date basis, the shares have given up 5.3%, and continue to fall short in their attempts to take back the round $100 level.

As such, sentiment has begun turning bearish on AAPL. In recent months, the stock has gotten hit with negative notes from the brokerage crowd, and additional downgrades are a distinct possibility -- considering 24 of 29 analysts still rate the shares a "buy" or better. Meanwhile, Apple's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.69 registers in the bearishly skewed 90th annual percentile.

In today's options pits, traders are once again taking aim at $100. Specifically, buy-to-open activity is detected at the weekly 6/10 100-strike call. In other words, these speculators believe Apple Inc. will close this week in triple-digit territory.

Shifting gears, while Icahn said he'd consider buying AAPL at some point, one stock he wouldn't touch is VRX. "I don't know enough about it to say I would short it, but I definitely would not buy it," the billionaire investor remarked on the embattled drugmaker. Despite the less-than-glowing comments, the shares have gained 4.8% to trade at $25.06.

Meanwhile, options traders have been buying to open VRX calls over puts at a rapid-fire rate. The stock's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 2.00 ranks just 2 percentage points from an annual high. In terms of weekly options, buy-to-open activity is detected today at the 6/10 25.50-strike call. By purchasing the out-of-the-money contracts, traders are eyeing a rally past $25.50 by tomorrow's close, when the series expires.

Technically speaking, though, Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc has been a trainwreck. In 2016, the biotech stock has lost more than three-quarters of its value, and earlier this week, it touched a five-year low of $22.52.

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