It’s Federal Reserve day on Wall Street, and U.S. stock futures are trending cautiously higher ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision on interest rates, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s accompanying statement. With economists all but guaranteeing that the Fed will lift rates by 1 to 1.25 points later today, the focus of this afternoon’s announcement will be Yellen’s commentary on the economy and defense of the Fed’s rate-hike plan.
Against this backdrop, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.12%, with Nasdaq-100 futures rising 0.16% and S&P 500 futures lagging with a gain of 0.06%.
On the options front, volume was pretty average Tuesday, with about 13.8 million calls and 12.2 million puts changing hands on the session. On the CBOE, the single-session equity put/call volume ratio dropped to 0.64, though the 10-day moving average once again held at 0.62.
Diving into Tuesday’s options activity, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook confirmed the company plans for and involvement in the autonomous car market. Meanwhile, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) options volume rose following a pair of reports, including a five-star crash rating for the Model X and an investor call for the stock to hit $1,000. Finally, Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) bounced back from the tech flash-crash on the heels of a bullish note from Macquarie Research.
Apple Inc. (AAPL)
During an interview with Bloomberg amid Apple’s WWDC, CEO Tim Cook confirmed the company’s secret car plans. “We’re focusing on autonomous systems,” Cook told Bloomberg, “It’s a core technology that we view as very important.” He went on to call the ambitious project “one of the most difficult AI projects to work on.”
With Apple down nearly 6% since Goldman Sachs called into question valuation on FANG stocks, and analysts beginning to show concern about the new iPhone, Apple stock and options traders embraced the news. AAPL stock gained nearly 1% yesterday, and options traders sent more than 1.1 million contracts across the tape.
Furthermore, calls managed to account for 60% of the day’s take, and while this is below average for AAPL, it is above the declining call activity of the past two sessions. Overall, AAPL’s July series is showing signs of optimism following a month of negativity with the June series. Currently, the July put/call open interest ratio arrives at 0.64.