Ambarella Stock Call Options Hot as Sale Rumors Swirl

AMBA stock jumped more than 2% after the rumors hit, but has since pared these gains

Jul 18, 2017 at 2:49 PM
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Shares of Ambarella Inc (NASDAQ:AMBA) were up more than 2% at their session peak, as rumors swirled the GoPro supplier could be putting itself up for sale. While AMBA stock has since pared a portion of these gains -- up 0.3% at $51.19 -- options volume is running at an accelerated clip, with a number of traders betting on more upside through week's end.

By the numbers, 4,088 calls and 1,569 puts have traded on AMBA so far, more than two times what's typically seen at this point in the day. Most active is the July 51 call, where it looks like new positions are being purchased. If this is the case, the goal is for AMBA to extend its run north of $51 through this Friday's close, when front-month options expire.

Widening the scope reveals AMBA options traders have shown an unusual bias toward long calls over puts 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 sits at a top-heavy 2.52, and ranks higher than 71% of all comparable readings taken in the past year.

Echoing this notable call-skew is AMBA's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.37, which rests at the bottom of its annual range. Simply stated, options traders are more call-heavy now toward options expiring in three months or less than they've been at any other point over the past year.

Among short-term strikes, the August 57.50 call is home to peak open interest of 5,574 contracts -- with 5,037 of those opened in the last 10 trading sessions. The bulk of this action occurred at the end of last week, with data from Trade-Alert pointing to buy-to-open activity.

Considering AMBA stock hasn't traded north of $57.50 since an early June bear gap, some of the call buying at this out-of-the-money strike could be attributable to short sellers hedging against any upside risk -- notably with GoPro earnings due in early August. Short interest on the stock climbed nearly 10% in the most recent reporting period, and now accounts for almost 14% of AMBA's float.

Whatever the reason, now is an affordable time to buy Ambarella options. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 38% ranks in the 19th percentile of its annual range, meaning muted volatility expectations are being priced into short-term options.

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