7 Stocks Experiencing Unusual Options Activity

by: Brian Gorban

There are many indicators I use when analyzing a stock. One indicator I look for are relatively cheap dividend stocks. Another strong indicator is insider activity in stocks, such as the ones described here. Finally, another indicator is looking at unusual option activity, as I recently brought up here, while some on Nov. 28 caught my eye below. Unusual option activity always catches my attention since options are generally a strong indicator to future movement as they provide great leverage for an investor.

OCZ Technology Group (NASDAQ:OCZ) engages in the design, manufacture, and distribution of Solid-State Drives (SSD) and computer components. I brought up recently some recent heavy insider selling here, and on Nov. 28 there seems to be an identical 2,188 put contracts changing hands on the Dec and Mar 10 strike price. This seems to be a simple rolling over position as the investor doesn't want to quite have his in-the-money puts exercised so is not necessarily bearish or bullish. OCZ looks like a decent value play at .9x EV/S, 1.1x P/S, and sterling balance sheet with no debt and just under $.90/share in net cash. The company is however burning cash and so more of a speculative buy here, but not a good short with such a strong balance sheet.

SINA Corporation (NASDAQ:SINA) provides online media and mobile value-added services (MVAS) in the People's Republic of China. There was particularly strong option activity on the Dec 40 with over 5,500 contracts changing hands against only 236 in open interest. This is a big 33% below its current stock price denoting strong bearishness in the month of December and showing horrible price movement on Nov. 28, falling over 5% while the market is scorching higher. The company lost over $400M in net income this past year and is trading at a lofty 9x P/S and 48x EV/EBITDA seeing where bearishness is warranted.

Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU), together with its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated energy company. The company had heavy put options activity particularly at the Dec 26 level with over 14,000 contracts changing hands. This looked to be bullish though as they were selling at the bid price denoting investors were seeing that as a floor price and/or willing to buy at that share price. This is a high quality energy name trading at a reasonable trailing 12x P/E, 8x forward P/E, 1.1x P/S and P/B, 5x EV/EBITDA, and decent 1.6% dividend yield. I'd be a seller of those puts as well.

Focus Media Holding Limited (NASDAQ:FMCN), a multi-platform digital media company, operates liquid crystal display (LCD) network using audiovisual digital displays in China. FMCN had unusual options activity as we discussed here recently, and looks to have bearish activity here with over 2,000 Jan 16 puts changing hands against only 302 in open interest. This Chinese company, much like SINA, is having negative price action today, but has more compelling valuations at 13x trailing P/E, 7x forward P/E, .3x PEG, 7x EV/EBITDA, and little debt with approximately $4.7/share in net cash. I'd still hold FMCN.

Alpha Natural Resources (ANR), together with its subsidiaries, engages in the production, processing, and sale of coal in the United States. ANR is having bullish options activity on Nov. 28, with over 1,000 contracts changing hands on the Jan 21 calls against only 521 in open interest. The company looks cheap now at a forward 11x P/E, .3x PEG, .5x P/B, .7x P/S, and 5.5x EV/EBITDA. I think ANR is a quality buy here.

Chimera Investment (NYSE:CIM) operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. The company had heavy options activity particularly in the Jan 2.50 calls with over 250 contracts changing hands against only 5 in open interest. CIM has been struggling of late, but the valuations look enticing now at 5x trailing and forward P/E, .8x P/B, and as of now a consistent 19.8% dividend yield. I believe the risk-reward is very nice with CIM and would be a buyer.

JDS Uniphase (JDSU) provides communications test and measurement solutions, and optical products worldwide. This one-time internet darling had heavy call activity on the Dec 12 options trading over 2,500 contracts. JDSU actually has some compelling value now at an 11x forward P/E, 1x EV/S, strong net cash positions of over $350M, and 7.5x EV/EBITDA. This isn't a screaming buy, but decent speculative buy at these depressed levels.

Disclosure: I am long CIM.

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