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U.S. stock futures are trending higher this morning. Wall Street has its blinders on again, and is ignoring global trade concerns in favor of corporate earnings. Analysts are worried that once earnings season ends, trade and the November elections are all Wall Street will have left to focus on for a while.
Heading into the open, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.42% while S&P 500 futures have added 0.24%. Nasdaq-100 futures, meanwhile, have added 0.27%.
In options activity, volume dropped off sharply on Monday. Only about 15.7 million calls and 12.2 million puts changed hands on the session. Over on the CBOE, the single-session equity put/call volume ratio rebounded sharply to 0.62. The 10-day moving average ticked higher to 0.64.
Options traders remained focused on their favorite topic on Monday: tech. Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD ) calls spiked after Barclays lifted its price target on the shares.
Meanwhile Snap (NYSE: SNAP ) saw mixed but brisk activity ahead of tonight's earnings report. Finally, Alibaba (NYSE: BABA ) bulls are snapping up calls despite escalating U.S./China trade rhetoric.
Let's take a closer look:
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
AMD stock soared more than 5% on Monday after Barclays lifted its price target on the shares. The brokerage firm boosted it's target on AMD to $15 from $9, while simultaneously downgrading Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) to "equal weight" from "outperform." Oddly, Barclays didn't have any major reason for the shift other than the fact that the market believes that AMD is gaining on Intel.
Options traders ran with the bullish shift, loading up on AMD calls. Volume yesterday came in at 304,000 contracts, with calls claiming an impressive 72% of the day's take. Looking out to September, we find more bullish sentiment from the speculative options crowd.
Specifically, the September put/call open interest ratio rests at 0.64. In other words, calls are on the verge of doubling puts for this back-month series. Sentiment is clearly trending more bullish for AMD, but it will take more to get reluctant holdouts like Barclays fully on board the bandwagon.
Snap is headed for the earnings confessional after the close of trading today, and the situation is ugly. As I detailed in yesterday's report , Snap is well on it's way to being the next social media victim, following on the heels of crashes in Facebook (NASDAQ: FB ) and Twitter (NYSE: TWTR ) stock last month.
Currently, analysts are looking for a loss of 17-cents-per-share on revenue of $251.19 million. But this report will be about more than quarterly earnings or revenue. It will be about user growth - something both Facebook and Twitter warned about.
SNAP options traders are leaning bearish ahead of the report. Volume yesterday came in at 159,000 contracts, or more than double SNAP's daily average. Puts made up 59% of the day's take.
This negativity dovetails with SNAP's weekly Aug 10 put/call OI ratio of 1.83, which shows that puts are nearly twice as popular as calls ahead of tonight's report. With an expected move of more than 18%, SNAP stock could shock more than a few investors in tomorrow's trading.
With U.S./Chinese trade rhetoric ramping up over the past month, Chinese stocks like BABA have taken a bit of a beating. BABA, specifically, is down more than 16% since mid-June and is headed towards its 2018 lows. Even recent media reports of Alibaba's amped up presence in the Chinese grocery market have done little to prompt bullish activity.
But that hasn't stopped BABA options traders from betting bullish. For instance, volume yesterday rose to 321,000 contracts, or about 1.6 times BABA's daily average. Calls made up 68% of Monday's activity. What's more, the September put/call OI ratio has plummeted to a reading of just 0.36 in the past month. In other words, calls - or bets that BABA will rally - nearly triple puts among back-month options. That's quite a bullish stance.
As of this writing, Joseph Hargett was long on Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) stock.
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