Equifax Put Options Pop on Reports of Another Potential Cyber Breach

EFX options traders are expecting more downside for the shares this week

Oct 12, 2017 at 1:53 PM
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The shares of credit agency Equifax Inc. (NYSE:EFX) are in the red today, after the company took one of its web pages offline to look into another potential cybersecurity attack. Just over a month ago, Equifax revealed a massive data breach impacting millions of consumers, sparking a round of executive departures and lots of heat from Washington, D.C. At last check, EFX stock is down 1.2% at $109.33 -- much to the delight of several new short sellers -- sparking a run on bearish options.

EFX stock suffered a massive bear gap on Sept. 7, once the aforementioned data breach was revealed. The shares subsequently fell to a two-year low of $89.59 on Sept. 14. Since then, the security embarked on a notable rebound, making it all the way above $114 during yesterday's session, before turning lower today. The shares are now on pace to close below their 10-day moving average for the first time in three weeks.

EFX stock chart

During the stock's bounce, though, short sellers weren't convinced. Equifax stock rose roughly 14% between short interest reporting periods, yet short interest on the battered stock skyrocketed 181%. Going back even further, EFX short interest surged almost 300% during the past two reporting periods. Still, there's plenty of room on the bearish bandwagon. Short interest now accounts for just 5.9% of EFX's total available float -- not even a day's worth of pent-up buying demand, at the stock's average pace of trading.

Since the mainstream media reported on Equifax's downed web page, put options have picked up steam. Now, roughly 21,000 EFX puts have changed hands -- 34% more than usual at this point in the day -- compared to fewer than 6,500 calls. It looks like some speculators are buying to open the weekly 10/13 105-strike put, which will move into the money if Equifax stock falls south of $105 by tomorrow's close, when the puts expire.

equifax options activity
Chart courtesy of Trade-Alert


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