Ford Motor Company (F) Option Bears Eye 'Brexit' Vote

J.P. Morgan Securities said Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) could get a boost, should the U.K. vote against a "Brexit" tomorrow

by Karee Venema

Published on Jun 22, 2016 at 11:03 AM
Updated on Jun 22, 2016 at 11:14 AM

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is one of many firms that could see a boost should the U.K. vote against a "Brexit" at tomorrow's referendum -- according to J.P. Morgan Securities -- given its hefty exposure to Britain. F stock could certainly use a shot in the arm, too, considering it's down about 13% year-over-year, and staring up at its descending 200-day moving average. Today, though, the shares of Ford appear to be immune from Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) headwinds -- up 0.6% at $13.29 -- which could have yesterday's batch of weekly option bears on edge.

F daily chart June 22

Specifically, F's weekly 6/24 13.50-strike put was easily the stock's most active option on Tuesday, where it looks like new positions were purchased. In other words, speculative players are betting on F to move further south of the strike by the time the weekly options expire at this Friday's close.

This bearish bias is nothing unusual, considering put buyers have been circling F's options pits in recent weeks. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.91 rests higher than all other comparable readings taken in the past year. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls at an annual-high clip.

Diving deeper, the stock's July 11 put has seen the biggest rise in open interest over this time frame, with more than 33,400 contracts added. According to Trade-Alert, it looks like most of these positions were bought to open, as speculators roll the dice on the stock tumbling to a new annual low over the next several weeks.

Should the shares resume their longer-term trajectory, a round of downgrades and/or price-target cuts could stoke the bearish flames. In fact, five out of 13 analysts still maintain a "buy" or "strong buy" rating toward underperforming Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), while the average 12-month price target of $15.81 stands at a steep 16% premium to current trading levels.

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