Options Traders Still Skeptical Toward Outperforming Netflix, Tesla Shares

Netflix, Inc. and Tesla Inc stock could benefit from contrarian tailwinds

Mar 20, 2017 at 11:30 AM
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The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest total options volume during the past 10 trading days. Stocks highlighted are new to the list since the last time the study was run, and data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. Two names of notable interest are internet TV network Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and electric auto stock Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). Here's a quick look at how options traders have been approaching NFLX and TSLA shares.

most active options tsla nflx

Netflix Options Traders Show Extreme Put Preference

Deutsche Bank lifted its price target on NFLX to $125 from $110 this morning. However, that's still a discount to the stock's current price, last seen up 0.4% at $145.62. This is just a hair's breadth from last Thursday's record high of $146.50.

Despite NFLX's technical tenacity, options traders have been targeting puts lately. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the shares have amassed a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.04, outstripping 90% of all readings from the past year. It's possible put buyers are speculating bearishly -- or, alternatively, they could be shareholders hedging against an undesired pullback.

Regardless, short-term open interest levels reinforce the prevailing put-skew toward Netflix, Inc. Specifically, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.25 ranks at the top of its annual range. In other words, traders targeting options expiring in the next three months have preferred puts over calls by an extreme margin.

Tesla Stock Gains Could Spook Option Bears, Short Sellers

TSLA has been another high-flyer on the charts. Up 0.7% today at $263.39, the shares have advanced over 23% on a year-to-date basis. This impressive run may be what prompted Deutsche Bank to boost its price target on the stock to $240 from $220. There's plenty more potential for upbeat analyst attention, too, considering 12 of 15 brokerages rate TSLA a "hold" or a "strong sell."

Options traders have been downbeat toward the outperformer, as well. The stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 1.04 registers in the bearishly skewed 83rd percentile of its annual range. A capitulation among these skeptics could create tailwinds for TSLA shares.

Last but not least, Tesla Inc has seen a lot of attention from short sellers. Just over 31 million shares are sold short, or almost one-quarter of the stock's total float. If TSLA continues to rally in the face of this prevailing pessimism, a short-squeeze situation could be around the corner.

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