Unusual options activity: COIN, LCID, AAPL and 6 others

Many investors overlook or ignore options trading because options are complex and poorly understood. However, many other traders have learned to “follow the flow”.

In other words, they want to know what the big funds and institutions are doing. When these buyers enter the world of options, they leave a mark behind them – footprints.

We may follow these traces when looking for unusual options activity.

Fortunately, there is an options activity leaderboard for calls and puts, which helps us keep track of it all when we see outsized volume. Let’s look at some of the most interesting stocks from the past week.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS)

Shares of Las Vegas Sands (US:LVS) have been trading very well lately, up about 75% from the fourth quarter low and more than double the 52-week low set in May. The company also recently announced its results on January 25.

After the company reported, a trader stepped in and dropped a huge bounty, paying $37.25 million for June’s $45 calls on January 26. Those calls were deep in the money, with the shares trading near $58 at the time of the trade.

Because the trade was so big, it completely overshadowed some of the other big trades, like the nearly $1 million bonus that was paid out on September’s $50 calls 10 minutes later.

MGM Resorts International (MGM)

MGM Resorts International (US:MGM) won’t report until early February and while it’s been trading well – up about 23.5% from the fourth quarter low – it hasn’t been as good as Las Vegas Sands.

This doesn’t stop the flow of bullish options, however. That’s when a trader bought the June $35 in-the-money calls and paid over $1.8 million in premium.

This trade – which was similar to that of LVS – took place on January 30, a day when there was additional flow. It’s like someone paid about $1.8 million for January 2024’s $45 calls and someone paid $224,000 for June’s $45 calls.

Apple (AAPL)

We don’t see Apple (US:AAPL) top the list too often, but it weighed in at No. 3 in the rankings this week. With a market cap of $2.3 trillion and earnings expected on Feb. 2, it’s no surprise there are big bets.

One trade that really stood out happened when someone bought over $8.5 million on May’s $140 calls as the stock was trading near $145 on January 27. Interestingly, someone also bought almost $500,000 in May put options at $140, about 30 minutes later.

Another trader paid $584,000 for May’s $165 calls. It either gave those calls a boost or was part of a larger order. It’s that this particular call attracted more than $6.2 in Additional long bounty by the end of the day.

Finally, there was also some bearish action. That’s when someone sold nearly $2.4 million on December’s $200 calls, while someone else bought $240,000 on the $147 put options of the February 10 and $200,000 of the February 3 $142 put options (both at par).

Lucid Engines (LCID)

In headlines about a potential takeover or larger investment by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Lucid Motors (US:LCID) has been in the spotlight lately.

That speculation was boiling over on Friday, as traders piled into February’s $15 calls. A trader (or series of traders) spent over $3.3 million in premium on these calls, while other short-term calls were the focus.

The call side was getting more action on Monday, January 30, including $200,000 on this week’s $12.50 calls and $230,000 on December’s $7 calls.

General Motors (GM)

Sticking with the auto trade, General Motors (US: GM) also made the list. With earnings expected on Tuesday, January 31, we see plenty of action on the call side for GM.

Of course, that doesn’t guarantee there will be a bullish earnings reaction, but that’s where the action has been in the days leading up to it. Overall, the $39 and $39.50 calls expiring on February 3, February 10 and February 17 were the most active, with over $1.3 million in premium split between these calls.

Rivian (RIVN)

A final auto/EV stock on the list was Rivian (US: RIVN). Unlike GM, one business in particular really stood out.

This happened on January 27, when a trader bought for $1.36 million on the $27.50 March calls. These calls were completely out of the money, as Rivian shares were trading near $20 at the time of the trade.

Shopify (SHOP)

Tech stocks had one of their best months in quite some time and Shopify (US:SHOP) also benefited from the run. At least one merchant (and possibly more) is betting on another Shopify rise.

On January 27, a trader lost $2.8 million on the $47.50 calls that expire on February 2. On the same day, another trader spent nearly $3.7 million on the February 2 $45 calls.

Finally, on Monday, January 30, another trader (or possibly the same trader) spent over $2 million in bonus on that week’s $45.50 calls.

Netflix (NFLX)

Similarly, Netflix (US:NFLX) stock has traded fairly well over the long term. In fact, it is the best performing FAANG stock over the past six and 12 months. I bet few traders would have expected this.

Netflix announced its earnings earlier this month, but a favorable reaction from big tech this week could push it higher. This appears to be the bet of one trader, who spent nearly $3 million on the February 3 $360 calls, which were slightly in the money at the time of the January 27 trade.

Salesforce (CRM)

Last but not least is Salesforce (US: CRM). The company has recently caught the attention of investors and traders, with activist investor Elliott Management taking a stake in the stock.

On Jan. 26, a trader bought $1.27 million on the Feb. 10 $170 calls as the stock was trading near $160. Later that day, someone bought about $218,000 of the February 3 $160 calls.

That said, it’s hard to ignore the ~$33 million in various sales bonuses that were recorded on January 18th.

This story originally appeared on Fintel.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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