Symantec Options Hot Ahead of Conference Call

SYMC traders are buying short-term call options

by Andrea Kramer

Published on May 14, 2018 at 2:18 PM

The shares of cybersecurity concern Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) on Friday suffered their worst session in years, after the company revealed an internal audit stemming from concerns flagged by a former employee -- though no further details were given. Today, however, SYMC shareholders should get some answers, with Symantec hosting a conference call after tonight's close to discuss the probe. As such, SYMC is the most active stock on the Nasdaq today, and options are flying off the shelves.

At last check, Symantec shares were 8.4% higher to trade at $21.16. The stock still has quite a ways to go before erasing the aforementioned bear gap from Friday, however. What's more, even before last week's brutal sell-off, SYMC stock had been struggling to conquer the $29-$30 area, which is also home to the security's 200-day moving average.

SYMC stock chart

Ahead of tonight's conference call, Symantec has seen roughly 52,000 calls and 34,000 puts change hands -- five times its average intraday volume. SYMC stock's May 22 call is garnering notable attention, with nearly 10,000 contracts exchanged. Trade-Alert points to likely buy-to-open activity at the call, with speculators expecting Symantec shares to rocket back above $22 before the end of the week, when front-month options expire.

Options volume today is now pacing for the 99th percentile of its annual range, after touching new 52-week highs on Friday. Despite SYMC's plummet last week, the now deep-out-of-the-money May 30 call saw the biggest open interest increase over the weekend, as one trader bought to open nearly 13,000 contracts Friday.

In fact, Symantec calls have been more popular than usual for weeks. During the past 10 days on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the security racked up a call/put volume ratio of 3.31 -- in the 80th percentile of its annual range. As such, SYMC's 30-day at-the-money implied volatility skew of 1.3% is in the bottom 10% of its annual range. This indicates that SYMC's short-term puts have rarely been cheaper relative to calls.

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