Option Trends: NIKE and Oracle Corporation

Speculative players have been betting against athletic apparel guru NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) and tech concern Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL), according to data from the major options exchanges. Both stocks have attracted heavy put volume in recent weeks, and here’s a closer look at recent option activity on these two heavily traded names.

NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE)

NKE has racked up a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 3.12 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Not only does this ratio indicate that traders have bought to open more than three times more bearish bets than bullish, it also arrives in the 89th percentile of its annual range. This suggests options players have purchased puts over calls at a faster pace only 11% of the time during the last year.

This trend toward puts coincides with a recent pullback on the charts for NKE. Since touching a record high of $66.07 in mid-May, the shares have retreated to the $61 area — home to the security’s 60-day moving average. Should NKE resume its longer-term uptrend, an unwinding of pessimism in the options pits could add contrarian fuel to the fire.

Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL)

ORCL has also attracted option bears in recent sessions, as evidenced by its 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 2.06. Compared to similar readings of the past year, this ratio registers in the 92nd percentile, pointing to a healthier-than-usual appetite for bearish bets of late.

In the front-month series, the June 37 put has garnered quite a bit of attention, with more than 12,000 contracts added during the past 10 sessions. This in-the-money strike is now home to peak put open interest of nearly 33,000 contracts. However, it’s also worth noting that peak call open interest stands at the overhead June 35 strike, with more than 45,400 contracts outstanding. In the near term, this abundance of bullish bets could translate into an options-related speed bump for Oracle Corporation.

On the charts, ORCL — currently flirting with $33.50 — has had trouble with the $35 region, which halted its rally attempt in mid-May. From a longer-term standpoint, the security is practically unchanged year, and has underperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 7 percentage points during the past three months.

Andrea Kramer, Schaeffer’s Investment Research

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