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Jan. 14, 2021, 9:35 a.m. EST

Unusual Options Activity Insight: Qualcomm

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By Benzinga.com

On Thursday, shares of Qualcomm /zigman2/quotes/206679220/composite QCOM -2.08% saw unusual options activity. After the option alert, the stock price moved up to $161.24.

One way options market activity can be considered unusual is when volume is exceptionally higher than its historical average. The volume of options activity refers to the number of contracts traded over a given time period. The number of unsettled contracts that have been traded, but not yet closed, is called open interest. These contracts are not yet closed because a buyer has not purchased the contract, or a seller has not sold it.

The trading of a contract with an expiration date in the distant future is another sign of unusual activity. Generally, additional time until a contract expires increases the potential for it to reach its strike price and grow its time value. Time value is important in this context because it represents the difference between the strike price and the value of the underlying asset.

Contracts with a strike price far from the underlying price are also considered unusual because they are defined as being "out of the money". This occurs when the underlying price is under the strike price on a call option, or above the strike price on a put option. These trades are made because the underlying asset value is expected to change dramatically in the future, and the buyer or seller can take advantage of a greater profit margin.

Options are "bullish" when a call is purchased at/near ask price or a put is sold at/near bid price. Options are "bearish" when a call is sold at/near bid price or a put is bought at/near ask price.

Although the activity is suggestive of these strategies, these observations are made without knowing the investor's true intentions when purchasing these options contracts. An observer cannot be sure if the bettor is playing the contract outright or if they're hedging a large underlying position in a common stock. For the latter case, the exposure a large investor has on their short position in common stock may be more meaningful than bullish options activity.

Unusual options activity is an advantageous strategy that may greatly reward an investor if they are highly skilled, but for the less experienced trader, it should remain as another tool to make an educated investment decision while taking other observations into account.

For more information to understand options alerts, visit https://pro.benzinga.help/en/articles/1769505-how-do-i-understand-options-alerts

© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

/zigman2/quotes/206679220/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 138.17
-2.93 -2.08%
Volume: 3.72M
Feb. 25, 2021 11:38a
P/E Ratio
23.77
Dividend Yield
1.87%
Market Cap
$160.29 billion
Rev. per Employee
$573,927
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