U.S. stock futures may be going down, but they are going down swinging. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average have traded in a 1,000-point range heading into the open. Bargain hunters are attempting to find some value in the market, but selling pressure is just too overwhelming.
It’s interesting to point out that yesterday’s plunge was the single largest drop in the Dow on record. However, it was not the single biggest percentage loss. That distinction lies with Black Monday 1987, when the Dow plunged more than 22%. I feel that’s a sign of just how overbought the market currently is. Keep that in mind going forward.
Heading into the open, Dow futures are down 0.76%, S&P 500 futures are off 0.23% and Nasdaq-100 futures have lost 0.16%.
Turning to the options pits, volume on Monday was higher than it has been in years. Overall, about 26.7 million calls and 32.1 million puts changed hands on the session.
Surprisingly, the CBOE single-session equity put/call volume ratio fell to 0.73 from Friday’s reading of 0.77. The 10-day moving average has surged off last week’s multi-year low of 0.53 to a two-month high of 0.60.
Taking a closer look at yesterday’s options activity, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) saw increased call volume after talking about expanding its TV-like service, Watch. Meanwhile, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) puts were popular amid a continued rout in cryptocurrencies. Finally, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) call options surged on reports that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could switch to Intel as low-cost supplier.
Facebook Inc (FB)
Facebook has Alphabet’s YouTube squarely in its sites, according to a report yesterday. The company is discussing expanding Watch, it’s video service, to allow more individual creators to provide content. According people familiar with the plans, Facebook will shares revenue from ads placed on that user uploaded content, similar to YouTube’s current model.
Facebook stock options traders likely saw the news as positive — it is honestly hard to distinguish between profit taking and bullish sentiment in yesterday’s market bloodbath. Volume rose to 357,000 contracts yesterday, with calls making up 63% of the day’s take.
February options are also mixed at the moment. The front-month put/call open interest ratio arrives at 0.73, which is near the midpoint of its annual range for Facebook stock. There is a bearish skew in OI numbers, however. Peak put OI for the series totals about 60,000 contracts at $180, while peak call OI numbers 44,000 contracts at $200.
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD)
Semiconductors were hammered yesterday, as these momentum stocks took the brunt of yesterday’s selling. AMD was hit particularly hard due to a continued rout in cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, for one, plunged for than 8% to trade below $6,000 at one point. Other cryptocurrencies, like Ripple, Ether and Litecoin also fell at least 9%.
Part of AMD’s considerable run up last year was due to GPU sales related to cryptocurrency mining. A plunge in crypto prices is seen as hurting sales for AMD chips.
AMD stock options traders expressed their displeasure yesterday. Volume rose to 266,000 contracts, with puts claiming 46% of the day’s take. February options are rife with negativity for AMD.
The put/call OI ratio rests at 0.98, with puts and calls in near parity. Peak put OI currently totals roughly 30,000 contracts at $10, while peak call OI numbers 38,000 contracts at $13.
Intel Corporation (INTC)
While Intel stock plunged more than 3% yesterday, the company did receive some bullish news that could make it a bullish bet once the market settles. According to Instinet, Apple could move toward cheaper iPhone components in future models. Such a move could favor Intel over existing suppliers like Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Broadcom Limited (NASDAQ:AVGO).
The bullish outlook was not wasted on Intel stock options traders. Volume soared to 246,000 contracts, with calls snapping up 75% of the day’s take. That bullishness, however, was not part of Intel’s short-term outlook.
Currently, the February put/call OI ratio rests at 1.30, with puts firmly in command. Peak put OI totals 75,000 contracts at the $40 strike, while peak call OI comes in at 35,000 contracts at the overhead $50 strike.
As of this writing, Joseph Hargett was long on Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) stock.