New AAPL Options Positions Open Ahead of WWDC

Put buying had been unusually popular on Apple in recent days

Josh Selway
Jun 3, 2019 at 1:29 PM
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Dow component Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) unsurprisingly showed up on Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White's list of stocks that have seen the most option volume in the past 10 days, and today near-term contracts are popular again. Another name on the list, newly added since last week's study (as indicated by the yellow highlight), is electronics conglomerate Johnson Controls International (NYSE:JCI).

unusual options trading june 3

AAPL is trading fractionally higher today at $175.48, as its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) gets underway today. We recognized in recent coverage that options traders have been bearish on the tech name, but today the weekly 6/14 175-strike call is leading the way with more than 16,000 contracts crossing. Close behind is the weekly 6/7 175-strike put with 14,552 options traded, and third place goes to the 177.50-strike call from the same series, which expires on Friday.

By the numbers, near-term options are somewhat pricey, based on volatility expectations. To be more specific, the 30-day at-the-money implied volatility of 30.2% ranks in the 74th annual percentile.

Apple stock was comfortably higher earlier, but it seems as though the regulatory concerns in the tech sector is weighing on the iPhone maker. At last check, the stock has trimmed its lead to 0.3% to trade at $175.59. Apple shares have fallen 17% in the past month, but still have a solid 11% lead in 2019. 

Turning to JCI, White's chart shows call volume has exceeded put volume in the past two weeks. However, data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.92. Not only does this show long puts have outpaced long calls by almost 2-to-1, but this reading ranks in the bearish 77th annual percentile.

Digging deeper on Johnson Controls, most of the options activity in recent days occurred at the weekly 6/14 45-strike call and put, with roughly 26,000 positions added at each, suggesting the trades may have been related. JCI shares have had a nice year on the charts, up almost 31%, and were currently last seen trading up 0.7% at $38.79, consolidating recently atop the $38-$39 region.


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