Two days after the
cut interest rates again, investors are feeling good about the market, and
options volume is kicking into high gear. With just one day left before expiration, investors are looking to open positions in some large-cap
, for instance, is seeing some heavy interest on the
American Stock Exchange
Philadelphia Stock Exchange
Like nearly all tech stocks, Intel has taken quite a beating during the past year, trading about 62% off its 52-week high of $75.83. Intel shares closed up 24 cents to $28.60 today.
However, some investors are betting that the beleaguered chipmaker is ready for a comeback, despite plenty of signs that it has its
work cut out for it. Intel LEAPS, or long-term options, were seeing plenty of action earlier today, indicating that there are investors out there who believe the bloodletting is coming to an end and that the stock will make some headway over the next six months. The January 27 1/2
calls traded nearly 100,000 contracts on an open interest of 96,595. The premium on those calls was listed at $6 ($600 per 100) on the Philly exchange.
Joe Sunderman, an analyst at
Schaeffer's Investment Research
, said that the volume had "the fingerprints of an institution," meaning much of it was the result of a large institutional trade. Sunderman speculates that the buyer of the calls may believe the market has bottomed and that leadership in tech will come from Intel, as it has in the past.
analyst Jeremy Lopez agrees, saying that whoever is buying the January calls is anticipating a comeback in the semiconductor industry.
According to Paul Foster, editor and option strategist at
, "Intel is trading at a 52 volatility, its lowest level in eight months." Low volatility is an indication of a stock price's stability. Volatility reflects how much a stock is expected to move over the life of an option. The volatility of a stock will increase during periods of uncertainty, such as earnings season or when rumors are circulating about a possible merger.
Foster added that there's no spread on the trade, meaning that it's not part of a combination of long and short positions. By buying the calls outright the investor is clearly expressing bullish sentiment, expecting an upward move in the price of the stock.
Foster goes on to say that lead money managers aren't going to buy a third-tier tech stock like
if they expect an uptick in the sector -- they're going to buy Intel.