Options Bulls Board Southwest Stock Amid Buffett Rumors

Berkshire Hathaway is rumored to be targeting a takeover of LUV

Managing Editor
Feb 28, 2019 at 2:55 PM
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The shares of Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) are up 4% to trade at $55.96 today, after reports emerged that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is contemplating a takeover of the airliner. In response to this news, LUV options traders are picking up calls at a frenzied pace. 

More specifically, over 53,000 LUV calls have changed hands today, a whopping 18 times the expected intraday amount and volume already at a fresh annual high. There's notable activity at the April 60 call, where new positions are being opened. This indicates buyers of the calls are banking on a possible Buffett takeover to push the stock above $60 by April 18, when the options expire.

This goes against the larger options trend in recent weeks. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows LUV stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.90 ranking in the 92nd percentile of its annual range, indicating a much healthier-than-usual appetite for bearish bets of late.

Echoing this, the airline stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 2.01 is 2 percentage points from an annual high. This suggests that near-term options traders are more put-biased than usual right now.

It's been a volatile six months for Southwest stock. The shares nabbed an annual high of $64.02 on Sept. 21, only to gap lower a month later after a subpar quarterly report. This slide culminated in an annual low of $44.28 on Dec. 26, but thanks to a big post-earnings bull gap last month, LUV has fought back to add 26% since then. 

Daily Stock Chart Southwest

 

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