U.S. stock futures are headed higher this morning. Wall Street is largely upbeat ahead of a string of Fed speakers today, including prepared remarks from newly appointed Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
Powell’s first trip before Congress comes at 11 a.m. today, where he is expected to back the Fed’s more hawkish stance on interest rates and inflation.
At last check, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 0.51%, S&P 500 futures were higher by 0.42% and Nasdaq-100 futures had gained 0.46%.
Turning to the options pits, volume was anemic on Thursday. Only about 16.1 million calls and 15.5 million puts changed hands on the session. The CBOE single-session equity put/call volume ratio rose to 0.63. The 10-day moving average slipped to 0.66 – another in a string of two-week lows.
Taking a closer look at yesterday’s options activity, Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP) puts gained strength after prominent user Kylie Jenner tweeted she doesn’t use the app anymore. Meanwhile, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) put volume rose despite bullish comments from Wells Fargo. Finally, Chesapeake Energy Company (NYSE:CHK) volume quadrupled the stock’s average following impressive fourth-quarter earnings.
Snap Inc. (SNAP)
The problem with many social media companies is that they are often beholden to the popular celebrities that use them. Snap found this out the hard way yesterday, when Kylie Jenner tweeted “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me … ugh this is so sad.”
SNAP stock dropped more than 6% following Jenner’s tweet, as pent-up dissatisfaction with Snap’s new SnapChat app design spilled over. Options traders also pulled back sharply from bullish call contracts.
Volume yesterday came in at 219,000 contracts, nearly doubling SNAP’s daily average. Calls only cobbled together about 54% of the day’s take, as bearish puts threatened to take over. Furthermore, short-term SNAP stock options traders are also leaning heavily bearish on the shares.
As of this morning, Snap’s March put/call open interest ratio rose to 0.93, with puts on the verge of parity with calls among front-month options. Look for put OI to continue to rise as SNAP retreats from it’s March highs near $20.
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD)
AMD stock is seeing some life lately. The struggling semiconductor stock was bolstered yesterday after Wells Fargo said the company was “positioned to show meaningful market share gains through 2018.” Most notably, Wells indicated that AMD’s market share of server processors could rise to 10% unit share and 6% revenue share by the December 2019 quarter.
AMD stock responded by rallying more than 1%, with the shares up another 1% in premarket trading this morning.
Options traders weren’t as keen on AMD stock, however. Volume jumped to 184,000 contracts, just edging out AMD’s daily average. Puts dominated yesterday’s activity, claiming 73% of the day’s take. Puts are par for the course for short-term AMD traders, with the March put/call OI ratio arriving at a lofty 1.25.
Most of these March puts (about 60,000) are centered on the in-the-money $13 strike. The next most popular is the near-the-money $12 strike, with about 44,000 contracts in residence. In other words, yesterday’s activity may have been the result of doubling down by AMD bears, or profit taking by those looking to limit losses on a rally.
Chesapeake Energy Company (CHK)
Anytime you can cut spending and improve production, you’re doing something right. Chesapeake Energy did just that in the fourth quarter, where earnings came in at 30 cents per share versus expectations for 24 cents. Furthermore, the company expects to continue this formula into the current fiscal year, projecting a 12% cut in capital spending.
CHK stock spiked more than 21.5% on the news and drove heavy call options volume yesterday. Total volume came in at 183,000 contracts, more than quadruple the stock’s daily average. Calls made up an impressive 84% of that activity.
Finally, if you got into last week’s recommendation for a March $3/$3.50 bull call spread, you might consider closing the position for a 100%-plus gain right now. There is the potential for a bit of upside in the next couple of weeks, but resistance could emerge near $3.25 following yesterday’s rally.
As of this writing, Joseph Hargett was long both Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Chesapeake Energy (CHK) stock.