On the heels of yesterday's
options buying frenzy, investors are once again chasing after the biggest names in technology. Atop their "to trade" list today are
Microsoft was the beneficiary of an
upbeat research note issued by
earlier today. Goldman analyst
Rick Sherlund said the software industry is in the best shape going forward out of all its tech brethren. Among other things, he noted that software lacks the inventory problems other tech sectors are suffering from.
As a result, most of the action in Microsoft options consisted of investors buying bullish near-the-money May 70
calls, which traded over 6,500 contracts on an open interest of 69,510. Open interest refers to the total number of options contracts that have yet to be offset, or fulfilled for delivery. The premium, or cost of an option contract, on those calls was listed at $2 on the
Chicago Board Options Exchange
Shares of Microsoft traded down $1.28, or 1.83%, to $68.48 in recent trading.
Networking giant Cisco had its share of volume as well, as the May 20 calls seem to be the weapon of choice for investors. Although open interest sits at a hefty 103,969, there were over 11,000 contracts traded on the May 20 calls. It's possible that some of the call volume can be attributed to investors closing their positions and swallowing the premium they paid for those calls. On the flip side, the bearish May 17 1/2
puts were active with about 3,500 contracts traded on open interest of 17,405.
Amid today's profit-taking selloff, shares of Cisco traded down $1.54, or 7.7%, to $18.46.
Elsewhere, investors were making bullish bets on eye-care product makers
Bausch & Lomb
. The Bausch & Lomb May 40 calls saw action right after the opening bell as 2,000 contracts were purchased on open interest of 2,531. The premium is listed at $3.20 on the CBOE. To a lesser degree the May 45 calls were also active, trading 150 contracts on open interest of 138. Allergan, a maker of contact lenses, saw plenty of action in the June 75 calls, which traded 2,000 contracts on open interest of 21. One trader suggests that volume in these options is the result of an institutional trade rather than individual investors speculating on the stock.
Shares of Bausch & Lomb traded up 4.1% to $44.45 in recent trading; Allergan shares rose 1 cent to $77.15.