Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares may still be higher than what many analysts see as a fair valuation, but that’s not keeping option players from adding to their bullish bets on the automaker. According to Schaeffer’s Investment Research, options traders bought to open nearly 44,000 calls on Tesla and less than 30,000 puts. The result was a call to put volume of 1.50.
Tesla options look hot
Those numbers cover the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the International Securities Exchange over the five trading sessions ending Friday. When the field is zoomed out to include two weeks and adds data from the NASDAQ OMX PHLX, a similar picture emerges.
According to Schaeffer’s Tesla motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s ISE / CBOE, PHLX call to put volume ratio was 1.86. On Dec. 2, the rating was only 1.02. This latest rating puts Tesla in the 82nd percentile of its annual range. This means that only 18% of the time over the last year, Tesla calls were bought to open instead of puts.
Tesla call buyers target January
Specifically, the firm reports that call buyers in the front-month series have been targeting the January 2014 170 strike. That means there’s more than 9,000 contracts of open interest, most of which have been bought to open.
Short interest has risen 19.5% over past two reporting periods, climbing to 30.34 million shares, which is 37.5% of the float. That’s the highest level since the middle of April when Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) was still one of Wall Street’s favorite short positions. Analysts at Schaeffer’s suggest that part of the activity at the current “out-of-the-money strike” might be short sellers trying to hedge their bets.
However, the firm also says that this could simply be traditional bullish activity since Tesla shares have risen so far so fast this year. Analysts there say since Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) hit its recent low of around $116 in late November, shares have increased 32%. But whatever the reason investors have for buying these options, they have placed their January calls “at a relative bargain,” according to Schaeffer’s Volatility Index for Tesla, which is 49% and is toward the low 19th percentile.