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Wednesday’s Vital Data: Facebook Inc (FB), Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS)

Options activity provides a look at expectations on FB, AAPL, and GS

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U.S. stock futures are pointing toward a reprieve this morning, as stocks look to take a breather amid their second-straight weekly sell-off. Corporate earnings have taken over the narrative on Wall Street, with lukewarm results doing little to bolster sentiment. Banking stocks, in particular, were hit hard after Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) plummeted on disappointing quarterly results.

Wednesday’s Vital Data: Facebook Inc (FB), Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS)Heading into the open this morning, however, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.19%, with S&P 500 futures gaining 0.34% and Nasdaq-100 futures rising 0.43%.

On the options front, volume returned to normal on Tuesday, with about 13.1 million calls and 12.1 million puts changing hands. Activity remained pretty tame on the CBOE as well, with the single-session equity put/call volume ratio slipping a notch to 0.62 and the 10-day moving average holding at 0.69.

Driving Tuesday’s options volume, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) introduced a new camera-based augmented-reality platform in a move to go head-to-head with a popular Snap Inc. (NASDAQ:SNAP) feature. Elsewhere, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) options traders have caught the earnings bug and are already positioning themselves ahead of the May 2 report. Finally, Goldman Sachs suffered its worst single-session selloff since its IPO following disappointing quarterly earnings results.

Wednesday’s Vital Options Data: Facebook Inc (FB), Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS)

Facebook Inc (FB)

Taking direct aim at a popular SnapChat feature, Facebook announced the AR Studio beta on Tuesday. AR Studio will allow users to design, build and implement their own augmented-reality effects similar to those currently used on SnapChat — with one big exception: Facebook is giving away the service for free.

The new platform is clearly designed to lure users away from SNAP, which currently charges for similar AR effects.

While AR Studio could be a major play for Facebook, options traders might have bigger fish to fry with next month’s quarterly earnings report on May 3. On that front, options activity came in mixed on Tuesday. Overall volume totaled more than 381,000 contracts, with calls only snapping up 57% of the day’s take. Looking at the 5 May series, peak open interest totals more than 8,500 puts at the $140 strike, as investors appear to take a bearish pre-earnings stance on FB.

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