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Unusual Options Activity Insight: IBM

Benzinga Insights
·2 mins read

IBM (NYSE: IBM) shares experienced unusual options activity on Wednesday. The stock price moved up to $126.59 following the option alert.

  • Sentiment: BULLISH

  • Option Type: SWEEP

  • Trade Type: CALL

  • Expiration Date: 2020-10-16

  • Strike Price: $140.00

  • Volume: 1552

  • Open Interest: 2544

Three Ways Options Activity Is ‘Unusual’

Extraordinarily large volume is one indication of unusual options activity. Volume refers to the total shares contracts traded in a day when discussing options activity. Unsettled contracts that have been traded, but not yet closed, are called open interest. These contracts are not closed because a buyer has not purchased a contract, or a seller has not sold it.

When a contract has an expiration date in the distant future, it is generally another sign of unusual activity. Usually, additional time until a contract expires allows more opportunity for it to reach its strike price and grow its time value. Time value is important to consider because it represents the difference between the strike price and the value of the underlying asset.

“Out of the money” contracts are unusual because they are purchased with a strike price far from the underlying asset price. “Out of the money” occurs when the underlying price is under the strike price on a call option, or above the strike price on a put option. Buyers and sellers try to take advantage of a large profit margin in these instances because they are expecting the value of the underlying asset to change dramatically in the future.

Understanding Sentiment

Options are “bullish” when a call is purchased at/near ask price or a put is sold at/near bid price. Options are “bearish” when a call is sold at/near bid price or a put is bought at/near ask price.

These observations are made without knowing the investor’s true intent by purchasing these options contracts. The activity is suggestive of these strategies, but an observer cannot be sure if a bettor is playing the contract outright or if the options bettor is hedging a large underlying position in common stock. For the latter case, bullish options activity may be less meaningful than the exposure a large investor has on their short position in common stock.

Using These Strategies To Trade Options

Unusual options activity is an advantageous strategy that may greatly reward an investor if they are highly skilled, but for the less experienced trader, it should remain as another tool to make an educated investment decision while taking other observations into account.

For more information to understand options alerts, visit https://pro.benzinga.help/en/articles/1769505-how-do-i-understand-options-alerts

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