By Jud Pyle, CFA, chief investment strategist for the Options News Network
have taken it on the chin lately. Since closing at $34.08 on Wednesday, the company has seen its shares tumble closer to $29 today.
A less-than-rosy earnings report delivered after the close last Wednesday has put the shares under pressure. However, the slide in the shares seems to be sparking some call-buying today by investors looking for a potential bump in the stock.
Looking at the March 30 calls, we find that more than 20,000 have traded in the first 3 1/2 hours of trading. Open interest in these calls is only 1,945, according to the
. What is most noteworthy about this volume is that most of the activity is on the buy side, meaning there are more buyers of these calls than sellers.
As we mentioned, this buying activity could be a bet by an investor that HPQ will regain some of its losses from the last four trading days. The call options are currently trading for around $1.15, with the stock near $29. At that price, the buyer just needs the stock to be above $31.15 to be in the money.
One catalyst that bullish investors could be looking at HPQ is the fact that the company will be presenting at the upcoming Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference. According to the HPQ company Web site, it will be presenting on Thursday.
This call-buyer could be betting that the presentation could lead to a rally in the shares that could turn a profit on the calls. Even if the stock does not make it all the way back to $31.15, the call-buyer could see the calls rise if there is enough time left to March expiration for them to have some volatility value left.
Call-buying like this does not mean that investors should run out and buy shares. But it is something that anyone who has a position in HPQ, or is thinking about a position in HPQ, long or short, should be aware of.
Jud Pyle is the chief investment strategist for Options News Network (www.ONN.tv) and the portfolio manager of TheStreet.com Options Alerts. Click here for a free trial for Options Alerts. Mr. Pyle writes regularly about options investing for TheStreet.com.
Jud Pyle, CFA, is the chief investment strategist for Options News Network. Pyle started his career in finance in 1994 as a derivative analyst with SBC Warburg. After four years with Warburg, Pyle joined PEAK6 Investments, L.P., in 1998 as an equity options trader and as chief risk officer. A native of Minneapolis, Pyle received his bachelor's degree in economics and history from Colgate University in 1994. As a trader, Pyle traded on average over 5,000 contracts per day, and over 1.2 million contracts per year. He also built the stock group for all PEAK6 Investments, L.P. hedging, which currently trades on average over 5 million shares per day, and over 1 billion shares per year. Further, from 2004-06, he managed the trading and risk management for PEAK6 Investments L.P.'s lead market-maker operation on the former PCX exchange, which traded more than 10,000 contracts per day. Pyle is the "Mad About Options" resident expert. He is also a regular contributor to "Options Physics."