NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) Record High Sparks Bullish Betting

NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) hit a record peak earlier, and options traders are betting on even higher highs by week's end

Nov 16, 2016 at 1:17 PM
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Options volume is exploding on NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA), as the semiconductor stock rips to new highs. Possibly boosting the stock is an upbeat outlook from MKM Partners, which highlighted NVDA as one of several silicon suppliers "most favorably positioned to benefit from elevated A.I. investor attention and headlines," as well as a broader outperformance in tech stocks. Regardless, NVDA stock was last seen up 5.9% at $91.26 -- fresh off an all-time peak of $91.94 -- while options are trading at three times what's typically seen at this point in the session.

By the numbers, more than 52,000 calls and 38,000 puts have changed hands on NVDA so far, compared to an expected intraday amount of 14,000 and 12,000, respectively. It seems safe to assume that a number of options traders are anticipating even higher highs for the tech stock by week's end -- when front-month options expire -- with buy-to-open activity detected at the November 95 call.

However, widening the sentiment scope reveals it's been put buyers who have been active in NVDA's options pits in recent weeks. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.91 ranks higher than 75% of all comparable readings taken in the past year.

What's more, NVDA's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.58 rests just 7 percentage points from a 52-week peak. In other words, speculative traders have rarely been as put-heavy toward options expiring in three months or less than they are now.

Drilling down, NVDA's November 65 put is site of the stock's top open interest position, with 20,373 contracts currently outstanding, a number of which have been bought to open, per data from the major options exchanges. Given the out-of-the-money status of this put -- and the security's monumental rise on the charts -- it's likely that some of the activity is a result of shareholders protecting paper profits against a pullback.

The last time the shares of NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) explored the south side of $65 was in mid-October, with the shares more recently buoyed by a standout earnings report earlier this month. Longer term, NVDA stock has outpaced the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 37 percentage points in the past three months, surging more than 177% year-to-date.

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