U.S. stock futures are pointing toward a moderately positive open this morning following a round of better-than-expected corporate earnings and positive economic data. Additionally, sentiment was boosted by comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said in a speech yesterday that details for President Donald Trump’s tax reforms would arriving in the near future. However, concern remains ahead of a key French election that could set the stage for a French exit from the EU.
Heading into the open, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average have added 0.01%, S&P 500 futures are up 0.06% and Nasdaq-100 futures have gained 0.11%.
On the options front, volume was brisk as about 16.9 million calls and 17.1 million puts changed hands on the session. Puts remained highly active, even on the CBOE, where the single-session equity put/call volume ratio came in at 0.68 and the 10-day moving average held at a three-month high of 0.70.
Turning to Thursday’s most active options, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) calls gained in popularity despite a downgrade at Vetr and recent negativity due to a live-streamed murder in Cleveland. Elsewhere, General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) saw a wave of put activity ahead of this morning’s quarterly earnings report and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) also saw heavy put volume amid a Model X and Model S recall.
Facebook Inc (FB)
With earnings less than a month away, Vetr downgraded FB stock to “hold” from “buy” yesterday. The downgrade follows on the heels of Facebook’s annual F8 Developer Conference and the unfortunate live streaming of a murder in Cleveland via Facebook Live.
Despite the added controversy, FB stock has moved higher this week, adding a bit of cushion between it and support at $140. Furthermore, sentiment among Facebook stock options traders appears to be on the upswing.
Specifically, volume topped out at more than 501,000 contracts for FB yesterday, hitting a near-term high. What’s more, calls made up 64% of the day’s take, returning Facebook call activity to just shy of average for the past month. As a result of this recent attention to FB calls, the 5 May put/call open interest ratio has edged lower from 0.57 on Wednesday to its current perch at 0.56, as calls are added at a faster rate than puts among options most affected by the company’s quarterly report. A continuation of this trend could have bullish implications for Facebook’s quarterly earnings report on May 3.