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FB Options Traders React to Mixed Analyst Attention

Josh Selway

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is basically flat today, much like the broader market, following mixed reviews from analysts. Stifel upgraded its opinion to "buy" from "hold" and lifted its price target to $240 from $215 -- though this note was outmatched by a vicious bear note from HSBC. The brokerage firm began coverage with a "reduce" recommendation and $178 price target, suggesting the company's rapid growth rate could just increase regulatory scrutiny, and added that Facebook seems to be losing friends in "high places."

In the meantime, short-term options traders are targeting FB, with positions opening at the weekly 12/6 200- and 202.50-strike calls. Other traders are opening positions at the weekly 12/13 200- and 205-strike calls. The shares were last seen trading at $198.51.

Call buying was already popular before today, with peak open interest in the front-month December series now sitting at the 200 strike. The FAANG stock traded up to $201.29 earlier today, and its 52-week high is $208.66 from July.

Finally, it's worth pointing out that short interest has continued to climb steadily on Facebook, even though it's still at just a paltry 1.2% of the total float. After a 12% increase in the last two reporting periods, short interest of 29.3 million shares is the highest since early January.

facebook stock dec 5