Short-Term Options Traders Swarm BlackBerry After Latest Licensing Deal

Analysts are still mostly bearish on BlackBerry

by Patrick Martin

Published on Mar 8, 2018 at 2:26 PM

BlackBerry Ltd (NYSE:BB) stock is up 3.1% to trade at $12.89, after the company announced a licensing deal with Punkt Tronics AG. The deal is part of the company's BlackBerry Secure licensing program which lets companies use its cybersecurity technology. Meanwhile, BB call buyers have turned out in droves today.

More than 48,000 calls have traded so far -- six times what's typically seen at this point, with volume pacing in the 98th annual percentile. Leading the pack are the weekly 3/9 12.50- and 13-strike calls. Data suggests traders are buying to open the options, betting on extended upside from the stock through expiration at tomorrow's close. New positions are being opened at the same strikes in the traditional March series, as well.

This penchant for call buying is nothing new. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows long calls more than quadrupling puts in the past 10 days.

BlackBerry stock has now added an impressive 90% year-over-year, reaching a five-year high of $14.55 on Jan. 16. While the shares pulled back after hitting this milestone, they found support at the 80-day moving average and are on pace for a fifth straight win.

Despite the stock's solid start to the year, analysts remain unconvinced. Of the nine brokerages covering BB stock, eight rate it a "hold" or "sell." Furthermore, the security's average 12-month price-target sits at $11.46 -- below its current perch. This indicates a round of upgrades and/or price-target hikes could come through and drive the equity higher.


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