Renewed Buyout Buzz Fuels Bullish Betting On FireEye Inc (FEYE)

FireEye Inc (NASDAQ:FEYE) is higher today, as speculation resurfaces over a potential Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) bid

Sep 22, 2016 at 3:13 PM
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Options traders are blitzing FireEye Inc (NASDAQ:FEYE), as unconfirmed rumors of a possible buyout bid from tech titan Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) resurface. With FEYE stock up 4.7% at $14.45, calls have the lead over puts by a more than 14-to-1 margin, and short-term traders are dominating the action. In fact, nine of FEYE's 10 most active options expire within the next four weeks.

In the lead are FEYE's weekly 9/23 14- and 14.50-strike calls, where it looks like new positions are being purchased. If this is the case, the call buyers' goal is for the stock to be sitting north of the respective strikes at tomorrow's close, when the weekly series expires. Regardless of where the security settles, though, risk to the options buyers is limited.

This penchant for calls over puts echoes the withstanding trend seen in FEYE's options pits. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), FEYE's top-heavy 10-day call/put volume ratio of 19.27 is docked in the 94th percentile of its annual range. Simply stated, calls have been bought to open over puts at a faster-than-usual clip.

However, short interest has also been on the rise. In fact, short interest on FEYE stock surged 11.7% in the two most recent reporting periods, and now accounts for a whopping 15% of the security's available float. As such, it's possible that some of the recent call buying is a result of short sellers hedging their bearish bets against any upside risk.

Regardless, though, FEYE's near-term options are attractively priced at current levels -- according to the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 44%, which ranks lower than all comparable readings taken in the past year. Plus, the security's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) of 78 suggests the options market has historically underpriced FEYE's ability to make big moves on the chart over the past year.

Technically, FEYE has been a long-term laggard, down nearly 57% year-over-year. More recently, the stock's early September rally attempt was quickly halted by its 120-day moving average, while today's gains are being contained by FireEye Inc's (NASDAQ:FEYE) 20-day trendline.

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