Post-Earnings Surge Sparks Fire In MGM Resorts International (MGM) Options Pits

MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) posted a third-quarter earnings beat, sending the stock soaring and options volume flying

Nov 7, 2016 at 1:22 PM
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Shares of MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) are trading notably higher -- up 3.4% at $27.32, and fresh off a two-year peak of $28.30 -- after the casino operator posted better-than-expected third-quarter earnings. As MGM stock soars, options traders are piling on, with around 33,700 contracts traded, four times what's typically seen at this point in the day. MGM calls have the lead over puts, with nearly 21,000 of the former and about 13,000 of the latter on the tape at last check.

Drilling down, one trader bought to open a block of 8,000 November 27.50 calls -- MGM's most active option -- although this could be part of a larger spread. Elsewhere, it looks like speculators may be purchasing new positions at the stock's weekly 11/11 28- and 29-strike calls. If this is the case, the goal is for MGM to extend today's rally through this Friday's close, when the weekly 11/11 series expires.

From a wider sentiment perspective, options traders had shown a clear preference for calls over puts in the two weeks leading up to this morning's earnings report. Over the past 10 sessions at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculative players bought to open 17,632 MGM calls, compared to 1,893 puts. What's more, the resultant call/put volume ratio of 9.31 ranks in the 86th annual percentile.

And while MGM's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.44 ranks higher than 90% of all comparable readings taken in the past year -- indicating short-term speculators have rarely been as put-skewed as they are now -- it seems not all of the action of late has been of the traditional bearish kind. In fact, over the past 20 sessions at the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX, MGM speculators have sold to open 1.80 puts for each one they've purchased.

Looking at the charts, today's positive price action is nothing new for the outperforming casino stock. Year-to-date, the shares of MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) are up more than 20%. Plus, the stock just notched a second consecutive monthly close north of its 120-month moving average in October -- a feat not accomplished since 2008.

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