Most Active Options: Intel and Micron Technology

Options traders are setting their sights higher when it comes to Intel Corporation (INTC) and Micron Technology, Inc. (MU)

Sep 8, 2016 at 2:23 PM
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The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest options volume during the past 10 trading days. Names highlighted are new to the list since the last time the study was run, and data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. Two names of notable interest are semiconductor stocks Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) and Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU).

most active options september 8

Confirming earlier rumors, INTC announced last night it will sell a controlling stake in its McAfee Security unit to TPG for over $3 billion in cash -- just days after the blue chip purchased this sector peer. While Independent Research responded with a price-target hike to $38 from $36, Intel shares are 0.3% lower at $36.34.

In the options pits, calls currently double puts. Looking more closely, traders are buying to open the weekly 9/9 36-strike and September 36.50 calls, betting on more upside by the respective expiration dates, at the close tomorrow and next Friday. Perhaps their bullish appetites were whetted yesterday, when INTC hit another fresh annual high of $36.65.

Given the stock's technical strength, it should come as no surprise that call buyers have been out in force lately. Intel Corporation's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 2.16 ranks just 2 percentage points from a 12-month peak.

Elsewhere, MU is bucking the broader semiconductor sector headwinds, up 1.7% at $17.45. In fact, since its mid-May lows, the stock has been on a tear, up nearly 87% -- putting it on track to close above its 80-week moving average for the first time since May 2015.

In options land, it appears one trader is rolling up his 18,500-contract position at the October 17 call to the 20 strike, wagering on more upside through the close on Friday, Oct. 21. MU hasn't toppled the round $20 mark in over a year. As such, delta on the out-of-the-money call is just 0.20, indicating a slim 1-in-5 chance that the option will expire in the money.

When it comes to short-term options, calls have held a decisive advantage over puts. Specifically, Micron Technology, Inc.'s Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.41 ranks in the low 87th percentile of its annual range, with calls more than doubling puts among options expiring in the next three months.

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