Traders Target Weekly Options On Apple, Tesla Stocks

Apple and Tesla stocks are trading higher as the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) topples 6,000 for the first time ever

Karee Venema
Apr 25, 2017 at 11:34 AM
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The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest weekly 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 iPhone parent Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and electric car company Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). Here's a quick rundown of how options traders are placing bets on shares of AAPL and TSLA.

most active weekly stock options

Apple Option Trader Sets a Short-Term Ceiling

Over the past 10 trading sessions, AAPL stock's weekly 4/28 146-strike call has seen the biggest rise in open interest, with 21,432 contracts added. A significant portion of the activity appears to have occurred last Thursday when one speculator bought to close her April 146 calls ahead of Friday's expiration, and rolled the short bet out to the weekly 4/28 series. In other words, she expects $146 to hold as a ceiling through this Friday's close, when the weekly options expire.

Today, call volume is trading at 1.4 times what's typically seen at this point in the day, with 80,604 contracts on the tape. The weekly 4/28 146-strike call is most active today, though it's not clear if new positions are being initiated, and, if so, whether they're being bought or sold. 

Looking at the charts, AAPL stock came within a chip-shot of taking out $146 on April 5, when it topped out at a record high of $145.46. More recently, Apple Inc. shares were seen trading up 0.6% at $144.44, up 24% on a year-to-date basis. Off the charts, Apple Music has delayed the release of "Carpool Karaoke," its first original video series.

Tesla Stock Brushes Off Scathing BofA-Merrill Lynch Note

TSLA's options pits are relatively quiet so far today. Nevertheless, the weekly 4/28 series has garnered the most attention, accounting for each of TSLA's 10 most active options. The weekly 4/28 300-strike put is most active, with 2,363 contracts traded.

Widening the scope reveals TSLA options traders have set their sight on this out-of-the-money strike in recent weeks. Over the last 10 sessions, nearly 6,000 new positions have been added here, second only to the now-expired April 300 put. Data from the major options exchanges shows a mix of buy- and sell-to-open activity here. Those initiating long puts expect TSLA stock to breach $300 by week's end, while those writing the puts expect the strike to hold as near-term support.

TSLA stock is trading up 0.1% at $308.35, even after BofA-Merrill Lynch lowered its price target to $165, a 46% haircut from current levels. The brokerage firm said Tesla Inc's takeover of SolarCity "introduces material risks to the longer-term viability of TSLA," and reduced its 2017 and 2018 earnings estimate. Longer term, TSLA has surged 44.4% year-to-date, and topped out at a record peak of $313.73 on April 10. 

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