Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) Puts Pop as Sell-Off Steepens

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) put volume is running at seven times the average intraday rate

by Karee Venema

Published on Sep 8, 2016 at 10:55 AM

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) supplier Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) is tumbling today -- down 5.4% at $6.48 -- amid a broader downturn in semiconductor stocks. This only extends Wednesday's action, when AMD stock slid 6.8% after the chipmaker disclosed plans to raise roughly $1 billion through the collective sale of stock and convertible senior notes. Options traders don't think the bleeding will stop, however, with puts crossing at seven times the average intraday pace -- and a number of bears eyeing more losses through week's end.

Of the roughly 28,000 puts that have changed hands thus far, about half have traded at AMD's weekly 9/9 6.50 strike. It seems safe to assume some of the activity is of the buy-to-open kind, meaning put buyers expect the stock to extend its retreat through tomorrow's close, when the weekly options expire. This echoes yesterday's action, with 8,571 puts added here overnight -- some of which were bought to open, according to Trade-Alert.

More broadly speaking, today's accelerated put volume just echoes the withstanding trend seen in AMD's options pits. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the security's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.95 ranks just 8 percentage points from a 52-week peak. In other words, puts have been bough to open over calls at a near-annual-high clip.

This skepticism is seen outside of the options arena, as well. For starters, although short interest declined 4% in the most recent reporting period, it still accounts for a lofty 11% of AMD's available float. Plus, nearly 59% of covering analysts maintain a "hold" or worse rating on the stock, while the average 12-month price target of $5.94 stands at a discount to current trading levels.

On the charts, though, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) has put in an impressive performance over the past 12 months -- up nearly 250%. Plus, the stock's recent pullback could find a foothold near $6.50, home to a 23.6% Fibonacci retracement of AMD's Sept. 29 annual low at $1.65 to its Aug. 19 four-year high at $8.00. Should the shares bounce from this level and resume their longer-term uptrend, an unwinding of skepticism could create fresh tailwinds.

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