Unusual Options Activity: COIN, LCID, AAPL and 6 Others

PhillDanze / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Many investors brush off or ignore options trading because options are complex and misunderstood. However, many other traders have learned how to “follow the flow.”

In other words, they want to know what the big funds and institutions are doing. When these buyers make their move in the options world, they leave a trail behind them — footsteps.

We can follow those footsteps when looking for unusual options activity.

Thankfully, there’s a leaderboard of options activity for both calls and puts, helping us keep track of it all when we see outsized volume. Let’s look at some of the most interesting action of the past week.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS)

Shares of Las Vegas Sands (US:LVS) have been trading really well lately, up about 75% from the fourth-quarter low and up more than double from the 52-week low set in May. The company also recently reported earnings on Jan. 25th.

After the company reported, one trader swooped in and dropped some huge premium, paying $37.25 million for the June $45 calls on Jan. 26th. These calls were deep-in-the-money, with shares trading at near $58 at the time of the trade.

Because the trade was so large, it completely overshadowed some of the other big trades, like the nearly $1 million in premium that went into the September $50 calls 10 minutes later.

MGM Resorts International (MGM) 

MGM Resorts International (US:MGM) won’t report until early February and while it’s been trading well — up about 23.5% from the fourth-quarter low — it hasn’t been anywhere near as good as Las Vegas Sands.

That’s not stopping the bullish options flow, though. That’s as one trader bought the in-the-money June $35 calls and paid more than $1.8 million in premium.

That trade — which was similar to the one in LVS — was on Jan. 30th, a day there was additional flow. That’s as someone paid roughly $1.8 million for the January 2024 $45 calls and as someone paid $224,000 for the June $45 calls.

Apple (AAPL)

We don’t see Apple (US:AAPL) on the top of the list too often, but it weighed in at No. 3 on the leaderboard this week. With a $2.3 trillion market cap and earnings due up on Feb. 2nd, it’s no surprise there are some heavy bets.

One trade that really stood out occurred when someone bought more than $8.5 million worth of the May $140 calls when shares were trading near $145 on Jan. 27th. Interestingly, someone bought almost $500,000 worth of the May $140 puts too, about 30 minutes later.

Another trader paid $584,000 for the May $165 calls. That either kickstarted momentum in these calls or it was a part of a larger order. That’s as that particular call attracted more than $6.2 in additional long premium by the end of the day.

Lastly, there was some bearish action too. That’s as someone sold almost $2.4 million worth of the December $200 calls, while someone else bought $240,000 worth of the Feb. 10th $147 puts and $200,000 of the Feb. 3rd $142 puts (both of which were at-the-money).

Lucid Motors (LCID)

In the headlines over a potential buyout or larger investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Lucid Motors (US:LCID) has been in focus lately.

That speculation was boiling over on Friday, as traders piled into the February $15 calls. One trader (or a series of traders) spent over $3.3 million in premium for those calls, while other short-term calls were in focus.

The call side was getting more action on Monday Jan. 30th, including $200,000 on this week’s $12.50 calls and $230,000 on the December $7 calls.

General Motors (GM)

Sticking with the automotive trade, General Motors (US:GM) made the list as well. With earnings due up on Tuesday Jan. 31st, we’re seeing a lot of action on the call side for GM.

Of course, that doesn’t guarantee there will be a bullish reaction to earnings, but that’s where the action has been in the days leading up to it. Broadly, the $39 and $39.50 calls expiring Feb. 3rd, Feb. 10th and Feb. 17th were getting the most action, with more than $1.3 million in premium spread out between these calls.

Rivian (RIVN)

One last automotive/EV stock on the list was Rivian (US:RIVN). Unlike GM, one trade in particular really stood out.

That occurred on Jan. 27th, when one trader bought $1.36 million worth of the March $27.50 calls. These calls were quite out-of-the-money, as shares of Rivian were trading near $20 at the time of the trade.

Shopify (SHOP)

Tech stocks have had one of their best months in quite some time and Shopify (US:SHOP) has been enjoying the run as well. At least one trader (and possibly more) are betting on further upside in Shopify.

On Jan. 27th, one trader dropped $2.8 million on the $47.50 calls that expire on Feb. 2nd. On the same day, another trader spent close to $3.7 million on the Feb. 2nd $45 calls.

Lastly, on Monday Jan. 30th, another trader (or possibly the same trader) spent more than $2 million in premium on this week’s $45.50 calls.

Netflix (NFLX)

Similarly, Netflix (US:NFLX) stock has traded quite well on the long side. In fact, it’s been the best-performing FAANG stock over the last six and 12 months. I bet not too many traders would have expected that.

Netflix reported earnings earlier this month, but a favorable reaction from big tech this week could send it higher. That seems to be the bet from one trader, who spent almost $3 million for the Feb. 3rd $360 calls, which were slightly in-the-money at the time of the trade on Jan. 27th.

Salesforce (CRM)

Last but certainly not least is Salesforce (US:CRM). The company has been a recent focus among investors and traders alike, as activist investor Elliott Management took a stake in the stock.

On Jan. 26th, one trader bought $1.27 million of the Feb. 10th $170 calls when shares were trading near $160. Later in the day, someone bought ~$218,000 of the Feb. 3rd $160 calls.

That said, it’s hard to ignore the ~$33 million in various put premium that hit the tape on Jan. 18th.

This article originally appeared on Fintel

ALERT: Take This Retirement Quiz Now  (Sponsored)

Take the quiz below to get matched with a financial advisor today.

Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests.

Here’s how it works:
1. Answer SmartAsset advisor match quiz
2. Review your pre-screened matches at your leisure. Check out the advisors’ profiles.
3. Speak with advisors at no cost to you. Have an introductory call on the phone or introduction in person and choose whom to work with in the future

Take the retirement quiz right here.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.