Wednesday’s Vital Data: Nvidia Corporation (NVDA), Tesla Inc (TSLA) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA)

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U.S. stock futures are mixed this morning, with the Nasdaq Composite bucking the overall uptrend due to continued weakness in the tech sector. In fact, the Nasdaq was initially headed for its third straight day of losses, as valuation concerns once again plague tech investors and a dip in cryptocurrencies pressured Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA ) and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD ). It did manage to pull up late in the morning.

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Against this backdrop, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average have added 0.06%, S&P 500 futures are up 0.12% and Nasdaq-100 futures have risen 0.25%.

Driving Tuesday's options activity, a drop in cryptocurrencies (bitcoin and ethereum) drove heavier-than-usual put volume for Nvidia, while Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA ) investors expressed caution ahead of the company's quarterly deliveries report. Finally, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA ) held its ground amid the tech decline after JPMorgan resumed coverage on the company.

Nvidia Corporation (NVDA)

Cryptocurrency mining has helped provide an unexpected boost for chipmakers Nvidia and AMD this year, but recent declines in the currencies has finally caught up with the duo. In particular, a 20% decline in ethereum during the past week added to lingering valuation concerns to send NVDA stock more than 3.5% lower on Tuesday.

Options traders responded with caution, as puts gained traction to claim 44% of the more than 346,000 contracts traded on NVDA stock Tuesday. What's more, the recent attention to NVDA puts has pressured the stock's July put/call open interest ratio higher to 0.93, with puts now just shy of outnumbering calls among front-month contracts.

That said, peak put OI of roughly 10,000 contracts rests well out of the money at the July $130 strike, hinting that much of this put activity may be protectionist, or premium selling, in nature. Given NVDA's strong price action, it would take a much more severe correction to push options traders into outright bearish mode.

Tesla Inc (TSLA)

It's about time for Tesla to release its quarterly unit deliveries figures, and traders are showing a bit of nervousness ahead of the event. Tesla hasn't set an official date, but the company historically has released deliveries within three days of the quarter's end. Tesla has set a target for a 61% to 71% increase in deliveries for the first half of 2017, putting the target around 47,000 to 50,000 vehicles. With first quarter deliveries at roughly 25,000 units, Tesla needs to hit between 22,000 to 25,000 units with the upcoming report.

That's massive growth for a company that only delivered 76,000 vehicles in all of 2016, and TSLA traders are getting a bit nervous. For instance, put volume is on the rise and made up 48% of the more than 313,000 contracts traded on TSLA on Tuesday.

As a result, the July put/call OI ratio has advanced to 0.99, with calls and puts in near parity ahead of the event. Taking a closer look reveals that TSLA bears are targeting $350, with the July $350 strike home to more than 3,470 contracts, just shy of peak put OI of 3,700 contracts at the $300 strike.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA)

JPMorgan resumed coverage on Alibaba yesterday with an "overweight" rating on BABA stock and a $190 price target. The brokerage firm believes Alibaba is a big data opportunity, with more than 30% upside potential. "We believe Alibaba's core commerce is expanding from traffic monetization to data monetization and this trend will quickly expand to its media/cloud businesses," JPMorgan told clients.

While BABA stock slipped nearly 1% on Tuesday, the Chinese tech giant's losses were mitigated compared to the rest of the sector, where losses trended upwards of 3% across the board. JPMorgan's note also bolstered confidence in BABA options traders, who sent more than 250,000 contracts across the tape on Tuesday - calls making up 63% of the day's take.

That said, tech-sector malaise is affecting BABA options activity overall. Specifically, the July put/call OI ratio has risen from its July 19 perch at 0.41 to its current reading of 0.59. That said, whether this is a sign of increased put activity or just call traders taking profits remains to be seen.

As of this writing, Joseph Hargett did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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The post Wednesday's Vital Data: Nvidia Corporation (NVDA), Tesla Inc (TSLA) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA) appeared first on InvestorPlace .

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

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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