United States Steel Corporation (X) Rally Sets Off Options Trading

United States Steel Corporation (X) is enjoying another strong day, as commodity stocks rise

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jun 17, 2016 at 11:47 AM

A broader rally among commodity stocks has United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) 2.7% higher at $18.35. Options traders have responded -- particularly on the call side of the aisle, where contracts are crossing at twice the usual intraday rate.

Diving right in, 17,000 X calls have been exchanged, compared to an anticipated volume of 8,400. The most active call strike is the out-of-the-money June 19 call, and data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE) confirms 1,500 contracts were bought to close ahead of tonight's expiration.

Meanwhile, U.S. Steel's July 15 put is the stock's most active option overall. It appears several mid-sized blocks were bought to open here in early trading, suggesting at least one speculator anticipates X will breach $15 by the soon-to-be front-month July expiration date, at the close on Friday, July 15. On the other hand, it's possible this was the work of a shareholder purchasing protection against a sharp downside move.

Among short-term traders, puts have been the options of choice. Specifically, X sports a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 2.32, with put open interest more than doubling call open interest in the front three-months' series. In fact, over the past 10 sessions, the X strike seeing the largest change in open interest is the deep out-of-the-money August 10 put, with more than 20,000 positions added -- nearly double the next-most active strike.

Technically speaking, today's gains are nothing new for United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X). The commodity stock sports a year-to-date advance of 130%, and has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by a brow-raising 30 percentage points over the past month.

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