Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) Bulls Enticed By Macau Relief Rally

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) options are trading at an extreme rate, as the casino stock recovers from Thursday's Macau drama

Alex Eppstein
Dec 9, 2016 at 10:53 AM
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Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) is bouncing back following Macau's clarification of its change to ATM withdrawal limits. Specifically, the casino stock has popped 3.3% on heavy volume to trade at $56.47, sparking a flurry of activity in the options arena. Of course, a rebound in the gaming shares may have already been in the cards, considering they settled yesterday with a 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) of 33 -- on the verge of oversold territory.

Options traders are likely welcoming the LVS rally with open arms. Calls have been bought to open over puts at a feverish pace in recent weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). The stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio is a top-heavy 4.96 -- in the bullishly skewed 88th annual percentile.

It's more of the same today, with calls outstripping puts, and trading at quadruple the usual intraday rate. Moreover, total options volume is currently running in the 99th annual percentile. Most active is the weekly 12/30 60-strike call, with ISE data confirming at least some buy-to-open activity. In other words, the buyers believe LVS will muscle back atop $60 before the year closes out.

However, not everyone's so confident in the gambling stock. Eight of 13 analysts have hit Las Vegas Sands with a "hold" or a "strong sell" rating. Separately, short interest has been falling on the equity, but 11.4 million shares are still sold short.

This skepticism comes despite LVS' impressive long-term performance. Year-to-date, the shares have soared to a nearly 30% gain. From a contrarian perspective, today's resumption of this upward trend could trigger a round of upgrades and/or a continuation in short covering -- potentially bolstering a move higher.

That said, those looking to purchase premium on short-term Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) options are likely to pay a pretty penny. The casino stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) is 56%, outranking four-fifths of all readings from the prior year. In other words, higher-than-usual volatility expectations are currently being priced in to front-month options.

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