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.
Unusual Options Activity: Uber (UBER)
Uber (US:UBER) has been trading pretty well lately, up more than 24% in just a few weeks, as investors continue to bet on improving travel trends. You’ll also see that in the airline stocks (and the options activity in those names in a minute).
For Uber, the most glaring trade stood out when someone bought $4.2 million worth of the September $37.50 calls. This was an out-of-the-money, long-term bullish bet on Uber continuing to rally.
In a similar vein, we have DoorDash (US:DASH) on the list as well, which came in at No. 3 on the Options Flow Leaderboard this week.
That’s after one trader bought almost $1 million worth of the February $70 calls. At the same time, someone also bought $678,000 worth of the February $65 calls and an hour later, paid another $220,000 for the same $65 calls.
All three trades are out-of-the-money and expire in about a month.
Despite how well this stock has been trading, Boeing (US:BA) has had a fair amount of mild but notable bearish options activity. Some would speculate that it’s hedging ahead of the company’s earnings on Jan. 25th.
However, the trade that stuck out the most was on the bullish side. That’s as someone paid more than $2.45 million for the at-the-money $210 calls expiring in April.
Delta Air Lines (DAL)
Delta Air Lines (US:DAL) recently reported earnings and management issued above-consensus guidance.
Right after the report, almost $300,000 in premium was sold between the February $37 and $38 puts — a bullish options bet. There has been some other bullish bet since, but the one that stands out the most was another put sale.
That’s after someone sold $1.25 million worth of the June $36 puts when shares of Delta were trading at $37.50. The slightly out-of-the-money trade is a bullish bet that shares will, at the very least, not decline over the next several months.
In mid-December, Caterpillar (US:CAT) had a large $4.1 million bullish trade go off, with an expiration in March 2023. However, the one that showed up on this week’s leaderboard had a much shorter duration.
That’s as one trader bought $900,000 worth of the in-the-money $242.50 calls expiring on Friday Jan. 20th. That came as shares were trading near $254.50. This trader was banking on a short-term rally in the stock after a mild dip.
It’s been awhile since oil and gas stocks have been on our leaderboard list, but there were a few names that popped up this week. Starting with ConocoPhillips (US:COP), we had some mixed action.
Someone did pay more than $1 million in premium for the March $130 calls, which were slightly out-of-the-money as shares were trading near $122.50 at the time of the trade.
However, it’s hard to ignore the more than $6 million in put premium purchased earlier this year and the roughly $1 million in call premium that was sold — a bearish options position.
The most recent trade in ConocoPhillips was bullish and the same can be said for Chevron (US:CVX). That’s after one trader sold $890,000 worth of the $180 puts expiring in June.
The trade was slightly in-the-money, with shares trading near $177 at the time. This trader would like to see a close above $180 by the time of expiration.
We haven’t seen growth stocks on this list in a while, but Twilio (US:TWLO) stood out this week.
That’s after one trader bought more than $1 million worth of the February in-the-money $50 calls, with shares trading near $53.50.
There was plenty of bearish unusual options activity in November and December for Spotify (US:SPOT). However, 2023 is starting off with some bullish activity.
That’s after someone bought more than $1 million of the $105 calls expiring in February. The out-of-the-money bullish bet is looking for a price gain over the next 30 days.
However, there is one more trade that is looking for a move higher in the short term. That’s as someone paid almost $250,000 for the $95 calls expiring on January 27th. Shares were trading just below this strike price at the time of the trade.
Momentum remains strong in Chinese stocks and that’s showing itself in the unusual options activity with JD.com (US:JD).
On January 17th, one trader bought $967,500 worth of the June $65 calls as shares were trading near $60. About 30 minutes later and someone bought more than $680,000 worth of the April $67.50 calls.
Both out-of-the-money trades are longer term bullish bets on JD.com.
This article originally appeared on Fintel
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