4 Tips On Tracking Unusual Options Activity
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Options have become an increasingly larger focus among stock market traders of late. Where can this information be found? One of the easiest ways this can be done is by focusing attention on unusual activity in the options market.
Many contend that the options market is where the smartest traders are because of the ability to use leverage and the ability to take huge profits with minimal investments.
I will try and explain this, assuming a basic knowledge of the options market and the coinciding vocabulary. There are many web-sites that provide this information for free, and I will list them later. However, simply looking at volume is not all that it takes. I tend to compare the volume in a particular contract versus the prior open interest. If the volume exceeds the open interest you know that new activity as opposed to closing open positions is flowing into the contract, and traders are taking their bets.
You can also see if the volume was new by looking the next day to see the change in open interest. A second way to come across unusual options trading is through a backward induction process.
Basically, if you see a stock trading heavy relative volume or moving an unusual percentage amount, check the options in the front two months to see if anything track unusual options trading activity your eye, and go from there. Another important aspect is looking for large lots or blocks of contracts that are purchased and the time of purchase, and www. Large blocks often symbolize that large institutions are trading, and not just every day retail investors.
Is it Option Buying or Option Selling? The way this can be done is to look at the Bid and the Ask on the contracts and watch to see where the last track unusual options trading activity paying close attention to trade size price is, to see if traders are aggressive is selling the option hitting the bid or buying the option willing to pay the offer.
After that step you should have a good idea track unusual options trading activity what traders are betting on, as for movement in the underlying stock.
I personally pay attention to the front 2 months of trading, but some people find success looking further out as well. News, Events, Data There is usually a reason for the unusual options action, so pay attention to news releases and upcoming events such as earnings, FDA meetings, investor conferences, etc.
I like to combine some technical and fundamental analysis to try and explain the options positioning to see if it looks to be a good bet. Implied volatility, which can be added to your basic stock charts, will also show when investors are expecting large price movements, and you can use the price that the at-the-money straddle is pricing at to determine the anticipated move in the underlying shares.
Additional Considerations This method of trading is not track unusual options trading activity, but has provided me with some blockbuster trades. In the last year I have been able to predict the demise of multiple financial stocks: Be Careful and look at the full Options Montage to see if the trading volume is part of a spread trade, a complex strategy, a rollover, etc.
This part track unusual options trading activity some practice, but identifying call and put spreads becomes easier through time, by looking for eerily similar volumes in various strikes. Also be wary of the intraday stock chart checking for large block trades that could be part track unusual options trading activity an options strategy, as a hedge such as a collar trade.
Lastly, pay attention to ex-dates on dividends because sometimes heavy option flow comes in for dividend stripping, a strategy track unusual options trading activity later discussion. Helpful Option Tracking Tools Now that I have given you some of the secrets to this method of investing I will provide you with some tools to get started. Before that, please note that I provide analysis of the options market, and highlight anywhere from 10 to 20 trading opportunities daily, along with color regarding not only what is trading and who is trading it, but also why it is trading.
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