Micron Stock Surge Attracts a Big Options Bull

Micron stock hasn't traded north of $35 since December 2014

Aug 28, 2017 at 2:59 PM
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Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) is trading higher today, after Barron's said Western Digital's potential buyout of Toshiba's chip business would be positive for the memory-maker market. At last check, MU stock was up 2.6% to trade at $31.09, and options traders were responding in kind. More than 85,000 calls have been exchanged -- 1.4 times what's typically seen with one trader targeting new highs in the next two months.

The most active MU option is the October 35 call, where 27,223 contracts have traded. This is mostly due to a 20,961-contract block that was bought to open for roughly $1.55 million (number of contracts * $0.74 premium paid * 100 shares per contract), according to data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE).

This is the maximum loss on the bullish options trade, should MU shares settle south of $35 at the close on Friday, Oct. 20 -- a time frame that includes Micron's Oct. 2 earnings report -- while profit will accumulate on a move north of $35.74 (strike plus net debit). This breakeven level sits in territory not charted since December 2014 -- and this options bull isn't the only one targeting new highs for MU.

More broadly speaking, put buyers have been busy in recent weeks. At the ISE, Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), MU's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.44 ranks in the 93rd annual percentile -- meaning puts have been bought to open relative to calls at a near-annual-high clip.

Part of this recent put buying could be a result of MU shareholders initiating an options hedge against any downside risk. After topping out at a two-year high of $32.96 on June 26, Micron stock pulled back to the $27 region -- near its late-March pre-bull gap highs, and a floor for the shares in mid-May. The security took a sharp bounce from here, though, and boasts a 42% year-to-date lead.

Regardless of the reason, now is an attractive time to buy Micron options. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 35% ranks in the 18th annual percentile, indicating low volatility expectations are currently being priced into near-term options premium.

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