Most Active Options: Ford Motor Company and Tesla Motors Inc

Option bears have set their sights on automakers Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) recently

by Karee Venema

Published on Sep 12, 2016 at 12:43 PM

The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest options volume during the past 10 trading days. Stocks 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 stocks attracting notable attention are automakers Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA).

Most Active Options September 12

Option bears have been circling F recently, per data from the major options exchanges. Speculators have not only taken the traditional bearish route via long puts, but call writing has also been a popular strategy of late. In fact, speculators at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have sold to open 28,776 calls in the past two weeks, versus the 13,757 calls they've purchased.

Today, it looks like one of these call sellers is closing out of her short position ahead of this Friday's expiration. Specifically, it looks as if one speculator bought to close a roughly 6,000-contract block of September 12.50 calls for $0.13 apiece that Trade-Alert suggests was sold to open last Tuesday for $0.18 each.

On the charts, Ford Motor Company has been a long-term laggard, down nearly 12% year-to-date at $12.40. More recently, the stock's rally attempt off its early August lows was quickly halted near the $12.70 region -- home to its descending 40-day moving average.

Put buyers have bombarded TSLA in recent weeks. At the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX, for instance, the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.34 is docked at an annual high. Plus, the equity's front-month gamma-weighted Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) is perched at a top-heavy 2.04, meaning near-the-money puts more than double calls among options expiring at this Friday's close.

This afternoon, though, September calls account for six of TSLA's 10 most active options, with the 200 strike seeing the most attention. It looks like some of the action is of the buy-to-open kind, meaning call buyers are betting on the equity staging a breakout above this noteworthy level by Friday's close, when the monthly options expire.

At last check, shares of Tesla Motors Inc had tacked on 2.9% to trade at $200.12, after the company's CEO Elon Musk said over the weekend that a new update to TSLA's Autopilot feature may have prevented a fatal accident last May. Additionally, Baird waxed optimistic over this update, and reiterated its "outperform" rating for TSLA. Meanwhile, the stock could also be getting tailwinds from takeover target SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY), which is higher after the firm secured a fresh round of financing.

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