FireEye Inc (FEYE) Options Heat Up Amid Renewed Takeover Talk

FireEye Inc (FEYE) options are in high demand, as the cybersecurity stock burns up the charts on takeover speculation

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jul 28, 2016 at 12:04 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Renewed takeover talk has lifted FireEye Inc (NASDAQ:FEYE) 5.2% to trade at $17.34. As the cybersecurity stock treks higher, its options pits are running wild, with intraday volume registering in the 99th annual percentile -- especially the weekly 7/29 series, which accounts for three of the four most active strikes.

Digging deeper, calls are outpacing puts by a more than 4-to-1 margin, while crossing the tape at quadruple typical daily levels. Leading the way is the weekly 7/29 17-strike call, where it looks like traders are buying new positions at a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.26. In other words, options players expect VWAP to topple breakeven at $17.26 (strike plus VWAP) by tomorrow's close, when the series expires.

Meanwhile, one longer-term trader potentially opened a spread at the September 14 put and September 19 call. Specifically, shortly after 10 a.m., two matching blocks of 1,230 contracts traded at the strikes, with the puts crossing closer to the bid price and the calls exchanged nearer to the ask price.

Taking a step back, today's call buying echoes what's been happening in recent weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Over the last 10 sessions across that trio of exchanges, traders have bought to open 7.86 calls for each put -- a ratio that ranks in the 79th annual percentile. In other words, options speculators have been scooping up bullish bets over bearish at an accelerated clip of late.

Not all FEYE call buyers are necessarily bulls, though. In fact, with short interest rising 8.3% in the latest reporting period and accounting for a healthy 14.5% of the stock's float -- or one week's worth of trading activity, at the equity's usual volumes -- it's likely some short sellers may have purchased calls to hedge their bearish stock positions.

This protective theory is further reinforced by FireEye Inc's (NASDAQ:FEYE) lackluster long-term technical performance. On a year-over-year basis, the cybersecurity stock has shed 63.5% of its value. And with today's big rally, the shares are quickly approaching their descending 40-week moving average -- a potential layer of resistance.

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