Near-Term Calls Hot During Intel M&A Buzz

Intel reportedly made an offer to buy Mellanox Technologies

Jan 30, 2019 at 2:58 PM
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Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) is in the headlines today thanks to rumors of a potential $6 billion buyout offer for fellow chipmaker Mellanox Technologies (MLNX) -- though, for what it's worth, Susquehanna said it doubts these rumors. With the shares of INTC last seen trading up 1.1% at $47.06, at least one group of options traders seems to be expecting the semiconductor concern to climb back to levels from before its earnings drop.

Diving in to today's options activity, Intel has seen about 110,000 calls change hands so far today -- nearly twice the average afternoon pace. More than 32,000 weekly 3/1 48-strike calls have crossed, which is over three times the volume at the next most active strike. Data suggests buy-to-open activity could be taking place, which would mean these bulls see INTC stock moving back above $48 by the close on Friday, March 1.

It's worth pointing out that the $48 price point emerged as a key area just ahead of Intel's earnings release. Looking closer, the 50-day moving average sits at $47.49, and has acted as both support and resistance for the stock in recent months.

intc stock chart

Of course, with earnings out of the way, it's an opportune time to buy premium. For instance, the Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) for INTC is 26%, and ranks in the bottom quartile of its annual range. What's more, the equity's 30-day implied volatility skew of 19.8% ranks in the 95th annual percentile, showing near-term calls are drawing lower-than-usual premiums compared to their put counterparts.

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