Steel Stock Breaks Out After Rejecting Merger

The steel producer's options pits are bursting with activity

Deputy Editor
Aug 14, 2023 at 1:29 PM
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Steel producer United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) rejected a $7.3 billion buyout offer from sector peer Cleveland-Cliffs (CLF). The news is helping the company's shares surge today, and options traders are in frenzy to place their bets. 

Digging deeper, United States Steel stock was last seen 31.6% higher to trade at $29.89, after saying it was reviewing "strategic alternatives" following several unsolicited buyout offers. On the charts, X's positive price action was capped by the $30 level, but it's still trading at levels not seen since February 2023. Now eyeing its best single-day percentage gain of all time, the equity is up 19% in 2023.

X Chart August 142023

Total options volume is already running at 11 times the intraday average amount, with 86,000 calls and 72,000 puts traded so far. New positions are opening at the five most popular contracts, led by the August 30 call.

This favoring of bullish bets is something new. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity sports a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.82 that stands higher than 92% of readings from the past year. Echoing this, United States Steel stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.68 that stands higher than 91% of annual readings. 

Those looking to speculate with options are in luck. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 39% stands in the 17th percentile of readings from the past year, indicating options traders are pricing in low volatility expectations.

Elsewhere, short sellers are exiting their positions on X, with short interest down 6.4% in the latest reporting period. The 18.93 million shares sold short make up 8.6% of United States Steel stock's available float, or nearly three days of pent-up buying power.


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