Option Bulls Bombard Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK) After Big Insider Purchase

Demand for Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) call options is sky-high, as the stock jumps on a director's 50,000-share purchase

Alex Eppstein
Aug 18, 2016 at 12:47 PM
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Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) is lighting up the charts and firing up options traders, after one of the energy firm's directors reported the purchase of 50,000 shares. Adding fuel to the fire, Deutsche Bank lifted its price target on the stock to $6 from $5. At last check, CHK is up 7.5% at $6.11.

In response, options traders are flocking to Chesapeake Energy, with calls crossing at double the usual intraday clip. Most active is the in-the-money August 6 strike, where traders may be purchasing new positions. Based on the volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.13, breakeven on the transaction is $6.13. (strike plus VWAP). However, even if CHK closes south of the strike at tomorrow's close, when front-month options expire, the most the call buyers will lose is the initial premium paid.

This bullish approach is par for the course when it comes to the shares. CHK's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 2.38 across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) registers just 10 percentage points from a 12-month peak -- with long calls more than doubling puts.

This call-focus is evident among short-term open interest levels, too. Specifically, CHK's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) is 0.80, which sits south of 98% of all other readings taken in the prior year.

One group that hasn't been convinced of the stock's technical bona fides is the analyst community. Sixteen of 19 analysts tracking CHK rate it a "hold" or worse. Plus, the consensus 12-month price target of $5.29 represents a 13.4% discount to the shares' current perch. In other words, future upgrades and price-target hikes remain a possibility.

Speaking of Chesapeake Energy Corporation's (NYSE:CHK) technicals, the stock has tacked on almost 36% in 2016. In fact, the shares are currently on pace for their highest close since early May, and their first settlement north of the 60-week moving average in nearly two years.

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