How Options Traders Are Playing Snap

Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP) options traders are following the lead of analysts and short sellers, with an apparent bearish bias toward the stock

Mar 10, 2017 at 1:18 PM
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Snapchat parent Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP) began trading options today. In fact, SNAP options volume topped 6,000 within the first half-hour of trading, according to Thomson Reuters, and the stock has so far seen almost 1.3 million contracts change hands. Below, we'll take a look at how options traders are betting on SNAP shares, which were last seen 0.2% higher at $22.75, and poised to close their first full week of trading with a 16% loss.

Digging in, SNAP puts are more popular than calls so far. The April 30 put and call have generated the most heat, with roughly 4,000 contracts traded at each. Next up is the January 2018 20-strike put, with about 3,200 contracts on the tape, while the March 22 put and July 20 put have also seen volume of more than 1,200 contracts. "Vanilla" traders buying these puts to open are betting on SNAP shares to fall beneath the strikes within the options' respective lifetimes.

Elsewhere, the January 2018 25-strike call has seen notable action, with more than 1,200 contracts exchanged. The March 23 call and the deep out-of-the-money October 35 call are also popular, with more than 600 contracts traded at each strike. "Vanilla" traders buying the calls to open are hoping SNAP tops the respective strikes within the options' lifetimes.

However, options traders aren't the only group apparently skeptical of SNAP. Short sellers flooded the stock on Tuesday, and short sales accounted for more than half of the SNAP volume yesterday, according to ShortVolume.com. In addition, analysts have been quick to call the Wall Street freshman "overvalued," with not a single brokerage firm offering up a "buy" endorsement thus far. Not to mention the media coverage; Barron's called SNAP's price "ridiculous," telling traders to "stay away from Snap," and the cover of the April edition of Modern Trader was "SNAP IPO Seeks Dumb Money."

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