Monday’s Vital Data: Square, Netflix and Halliburton

Options activity provides a look at expectations on SQ, NFLX and HAL

U.S. stock futures are circling unchanged as traders return from the weekend hoping that Friday’s robust rally will set the tone for the new week. Market-moving news is light this morning, with trade talks continuing to dominate the discussion.

stock market todayAhead of the bell, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.1% and S&P 500 futures are lower by 0.09%. Nasdaq-100 futures have shed 0.19%.

In the options pits, call volume surged dramatically on Friday, helping to drive overall volume well above average levels. Specifically, about 25.1 million calls and 20.5 million puts changed hands on the session.

The dash for calls was felt over at the CBOE, where the single-session equity put/call volume ratio fell to 0.59. The 10-day moving average continued its decline, sliding to 0.72.

Here were three soaring stocks from Friday who saw big waves in the options market. Square (NYSE:SQ) saw renewed options interest after announcing the hiring of a new CFO. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) benefited from a bullish note out of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). Finally, Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) was flooded with activity as the stock rallied alongside oil prices.

Let’s take a closer look:

Monday's Vital Data: Square (SQ), Netflix (NFLX) and Halliburton (HAL)

Square (SQ)

SQ stock jumped 11% Friday on heavy volume. The broad market rally deserves some of the credit for the boost but so too does the news of their hiring a new CFO, Amrita Ahuja. Previously, she was the CFO of Blizzard Entertainment.

The bullish catalyst was much needed because Square shares have suffered dramatically during the ongoing bear market ravaging the financial markets. Since peaking at $101.15 on Oct. 1, the stock had fallen as much as 50% before its recent rally.

On the options trading front, calls outpaced puts by a modest margin. Activity swelled to 179% of the average daily volume, with 155,606 total contracts traded. Calls accounted for 55% of the day’s total.

Alongside the price jump came a drop in implied volatility which fell to 68%, placing it at the 58th percentile of its one-year range. Premiums are now pricing in daily moves of $2.49, or 4.3%.

Netflix (NFLX)

Positive buzz surrounding the popularity of Bird Box has Netflix circling the minds of investors. And now, Goldman Sachs is throwing its weight behind the momentum stock. On Friday, NFLX stock soared nearly 10% after Goldman added it to its conviction buy list. The investment bank cited multiple reasons behind their optimism including the stocks recent 45% price slash creating a compelling chance to buy shares on the cheap.

NFLX stock’s rally back above its 50-day moving average marks an essential step on its journey to turn its downtrend higher. Watch for upside follow through and the formation of higher pivot lows to confirm buyers have indeed wrested control.

On the options trading front, traders came after calls with a vengeance. Activity swelled to 211% of the average daily volume, with 335,705 total contracts traded. 59% of the trading came from call options alone.

Anxiety dissipated on the day as implied volatility fell back to 67%, placing it at the 78th percentile of its one-year range. Premiums are now pricing in daily moves of $12.60, or 4.2%

Halliburton (HAL)

Halliburton was the number three stock atop Friday’s most-active list. The jump in options trading was balanced between calls and puts, suggesting neither bulls or bears dominated the trading. The news was light, but HAL scored a solid rebound amid the continued snapback in beaten-down oil prices.

Crude oil was up 3.2% on the day while HAL stock rallied 4.8% on above-average volume. A look at the long-term trend should squash buyer optimism, however. With the long line of failed rebounds, the current rally has yet to prove its conclusion will differ from its predecessors. Caution is still warranted, in other words.

On the options trading front, put and call demand was balanced on the day. Total activity jumped dramatically to 561% of the average daily volume, with 128,388 total contracts traded. Calls contributed 52% to the day’s take.

Implied volatility slipped on the day to 45%, placing it at the 64th percentile of its one-year range. Premiums are pricing in daily moves of 80 cents, or 2.8%.

As of this writing, Tyler Craig didn’t hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Check out his recently released Bear Market Survival Guide to learn how to defend your portfolio against market volatility.

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