Near-Term Call Traders Hammer Netflix, NVIDIA Stocks

Call traders have taken different approaches on NFLX and NVDA

Nov 16, 2017 at 2:09 PM
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The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest total weekly options volume during the past 10 trading days. Stocks highlighted in yellow are new entries to the list. Data is courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. Two names to note are streaming content giant Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and semiconductor stock NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA). Below we'll break down recent options trading activity on NFLX and NVDA.

unusual options activity

Call Buying Remains Popular on Netflix

Call buying has been popular on Netflix for some time, evidenced by its 50-day call/put volume ratio of 1.57 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) -- ranking only 2 percentage points from an annual high. Moreover, call open interest now sits in the 91st percentile of its annual range.

Over the past 10 days, the December 190 call has seen the largest increase in open interest by far, and data from the major options exchanges confirms almost exclusive buy-to-open action here. Other strikes that saw notable increases in open interest during this time were the November 197.50 and December 210 calls, with some buying occurring at each.

Bullish or bearish, it's a good time to target near-term NFLX options. Its Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 27% ranks in the low 12th percentile of its annual range, meaning volatility expectations are unusually muted for short-term options. Netflix stock was last seen trading 2.7% higher at $197.32, as it continues to ride its 50-day moving average higher.

Call Selling Popular on NVDA

NVIDIA has also seen heavy call volume, but these traders have taken a different approach. For example, the largest increase in open interest during the past 10 days occurred at the November 215 call, and close behind were the 212.50 and 220 calls from the same series. But data from the major exchanges shows sell-to-open activity at all three, so traders are betting on NVDA stock holding below the strikes through tomorrow's close, when the contracts expire.

Meanwhile, the equity's SVI of 32% is only 10 percentage points from an annual low, so premium is rather muted at the moment. It's also worth noting the shares have a Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) of 100, indicating a strong tendency to make moves bigger than the options market was pricing in.

A long-time outperformer, NVIDIA today is up 1.4% at $212.83, not far removed from is Nov. 10 record high of $218.67. The stock has been guided higher by its 20-day moving average, which has contained pullbacks since September.


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