Snap Options Traders Fired Up Amid Facebook Competition

Facebook's new camera filters are weighing on Snapchat stock, sparking frenzied options trading

Mar 28, 2017 at 10:42 AM
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The shares of Snapchat parent Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP) are struggling today, down 5.3% at $22.57, amid competition concerns from Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). Specifically, Facebook today unveiled new camera features chock-full of filters, which can be shared privately, with a user's friend list, and via "story" -- very similar to Snapchat. Against this backdrop, SNAP options have been flying off the shelves at a rapid-fire rate today, with traders placing short-term bets on the social media stock.

So far, roughly 23,000 calls and 16,000 puts have traded on SNAP today. The April 18 put is once again most active, with more than 4,600 contracts exchanged, and likely some sell-to-open action. By writing the puts to open, the traders are betting SNAP shares will remain atop $18 through the close on Friday, April 21, when the options expire. More "vanilla" SNAP bulls appear to be buying to open the weekly 3/31 25- and 26-strike calls, which are second and fourth on the list of today's most active options, respectively.

Since SNAP began trading options, the April 18 put has emerged as one to watch, and is already home to peak open interest among all options, with more than 31,400 contracts outstanding. That's nearly twice the next most popular option -- the weekly 3/31 24-strike call -- though most of the puts appear to have been sold to open. The closest SNAP stock has come to breaching $18 came on March 17, when the Wall Street newcomer hit a post-IPO low of $18.90.

Outside of the options arena, Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP) has been plagued by pessimism, with short sellers flocking to the new social media stock. At last check, roughly 21 million SNAP shares were dedicated to short interest. In addition, SNAP only recently received its first "buy" rating from analysts. And while SNAP shares are well off the aforementioned March 17 low, yesterday they peaked at $24.40, which is roughly a 50% retracement from their all-time high of $29.44 to their record low.

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