U.S. stock futures are headed higher this morning, putting the Dow Jones Industrial Average on track for a monthly gain in April. M&A news has Wall Street in a bullish mood, after Sprint Corp. (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile US Inc. (NASDAQ:TMUS) announced plans to merge yesterday.
Economic data could also be a bullish driver today. Among today’s reports are March readings on personal income, consumer spending and core inflation, as well as March’s pending home sales.
Heading into the open, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.44%, S&P 500 futures have gained 0.32% and Nasdaq-100 futures have added 0.47%.
Turning to the options pits, volume was call heavy heading into the weekend. Overall, about 18.6 million calls 15.7 million puts crossed the tape. Despite the elevated call volume, the CBOE single-session equity put/call volume ratio rose to 0.64. The 10-day moving average held at 0.64.
While profit taking following tech earnings ruled the day, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) options traders were gearing up for tomorrow’s quarterly report. Meanwhile, Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) continued to look for a rebound, despite reports of DRAM pricing collusion. Finally, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) appeared a bit worried as the stock pulled back to support amid a $1.9 billion junk-bond offering.
Let’s take a closer look:
Apple Inc. (AAPL)
Apple is on the earnings clock this week. The iPhone maker will step onto the earnings stage after the close of trading tomorrow afternoon. Analysts are expecting a profit of $2.69 per share on revenue of $60.98 billion.
Tech companies have performed well this earnings season, and the pressure is on for Apple. EarningsWhispers.com puts the whisper number at $2.80 per share.
Apple options traders appeared to back away from an overly bullish stance on Friday, however. Volume rose to 479,000 contracts, with calls only making up 55% of the day’s take — well below average for AAPL options.
The weekly May 4 series, however, remains heavily bullish heading into tomorrow’s report. Currently, the May 4 put/call open interest ratio rests at 0.59, with calls firmly in command. Implieds are pricing in a potential post-earnings move of about 5% for AAPL stock. This places the upper bound at $170 and the lower bound at $154.
Micron Technology, Inc. (MU)
Micron stock is in dire straits from a technical perspective. The stock is caught in a downtrending channel of lower lows and lower highs. This trend could see the shares trade below $45 if MU can’t find price support soon.
Adding to Micron’s woes, the company was just named as part of a class action lawsuit over DRAM price fixing. The suit also names Samsung and Hynix as collaborators in the price fixing scheme.
MU options traders, meanwhile, appear bent on calling a bottom to the stock’s recent decline. Volume swelled to 284,000 contracts on Friday, with calls making up 67% of the day’s take. That said, the May options series is showing signs of fatigue. Currently, the May put/call OI ratio comes in at 0.69, with put open interest on the rise compared to call open interest. In short, recent call activity may be related to the closure of existing positions, which could have a bearish impact on MU sentiment.
Netflix, Inc. (NFLX)
Profit taking has dominated NFLX stock ever since the company posted blowout quarterly earnings results. The shares pulled back to support near $305 last week. But buying support quickly emerged, allowing NFLX to close higher on Friday.
It was a bullish move for NFLX, especially since the company raided the junk-bond market with a $1.9 billion offer. In the past such debt offerings would have sunk NFLX shares as analysts decried the company’s debt levels.
NFLX options traders appeared to take note of the debt offering. Volume rose to 193,000 contracts, with calls only making up 57% of the day’s take. What’s more, the overall mood in the options pits continues to lean bearish. The May put/call OI ratio currently rests at 0.92, with calls and puts in near parity.
As of this writing, Joseph Hargett held no positions on any of the aforementioned securities.