U.S. stock futures are trading lower as weaker-than-expected earnings from Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) are once again placing slowing global growth fears back on the table.
Against this backdrop, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 0.92% and S&P 500 futures are lower by 0.79%. Nasdaq-100 futures have shed 1.05%.
In the options pits, call volume jumped on Friday, helping to drive overall volume to above average levels. Specifically, about 23.3 million calls and 18.1 million puts changed hands on the session.
The mad dash for calls was felt at the CBOE, where the single-session equity put/call volume ratio cratered to 0.51 — a new low for 2019. Meanwhile, the 10-day moving average slipped to 0.63.
Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC) made a rare appearance on the most-actives board after reporting earnings. Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE:CGC) soared after a Piper Jaffray analyst increased their price target. Finally, Square (NYSE:SQ) continued its trend reversal with a 5% gain.
Let’s take a closer look:
Western Digital Corp (WDC)
Data storage device company Western Digital reported earnings Thursday night and though the numbers showed continued weakness, its 2019 outlook offered evidence that growth is on the horizon.
Since peaking last March, WDC stock had fallen as much as 68% before this year’s rebound pulled it back from the abyss. With Friday’s 7.5% jump, WDC is so far outpacing the year-to-date recovery in the S&P 500.
Though the stock closed well off its intraday high, it was able to finish the session above its 50-day moving average for the first time since is nasty descent began last March. This provides a glimmer of hope to stock watchers that a turnaround has begun.
On the options trading front, put volume slightly outpaced calls. Total activity ballooned to 612% of the average daily volume, with 146,756 total contracts traded. Puts accounted for 54% of the day’s take.
With earnings now out of the way, implied volatility cratered to 47% by day’s end. It now sits at the 47th percentile of its one-year range.
Canopy Growth Corp (CGC)
After a short pause, the ascension in Canopy Growth resumed in earnest on Friday. The Canadian medical marijuana company surged 9.71% Friday on news that Piper Jaffray analysts lifted their price target by 50%.
Citing the long-term growth potential of the market, Piper Jaffray analysts Michael Lavery and Jeffrey Kratky reiterated the company’s overweight rating while raising their price target from $40 to $60 per share.
On the options trading front, traders came after calls with a vengeance. Total activity grew to 285% of the average daily volume, with 150,005 total contracts traded. 71% of the trading came from call options alone.
The increased demand drove implied volatility higher on the day to 81%, placing it in the dead center of its one-year range. Given the uncertainty that still surrounds cannabis stocks, options premiums remain pumped and thus tempting for the selling.
All was quiet on the news front for Square on Friday, but that didn’t keep traders from bidding shares of the mobile payments company to the moon. By day’s end, SQ added tacked on another 5.5% to its 2019 recovery. This month’s buying bonanza has returned the stock to the north side of every major moving average.
As far as options trading goes, calls were the hot commodity on the session. Total activity swelled to 206% of the average daily volume, with 212,640 contracts traded. 69% of the tally came from calls.
The increased demand drove implied volatility higher on the day to 25%, placing it at the 31st percentile of its one-year range. Premium sellers will be happy to note this is the highest level since late July.
As of this writing, Tyler Craig didn’t hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Check out his recently released Bear Market Survival Guide to learn how to defend your portfolio against market volatility.
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