Facebook Options Suggest Investors Are Betting on Further Gains

(Bloomberg) -- Options investors appear to be positioning for more upside in Facebook Inc. shares ahead of its first-quarter earnings report Wednesday afternoon.

Shares of the social media giant have already risen almost 50 percent from their December lows amid signs that controversies over user data and privacy haven’t had an appreciable impact on usage. Options suggest a bullish setup ahead of results with calls outweighing puts by 61 percent among contracts set to expire Friday, which make up 10 percent of total open interest.

Facebook Options Suggest Investors Are Betting on Further Gains

Alon Rosin, Oppenheimer’s head of institutional equity derivatives, recommends buying the bullish June $190/$200 call spread versus selling the June $165 put ahead of Facebook’s report as a way to participate in upside but still cushion against downside. “Sentiment into first-quarter earnings is less bullish than it was ahead of fourth-quarter earnings,” when the stock rose 11 percent, Rosin said in an interview.

The near at-the-money straddle is pricing in a potential 6.2 percent move in the shares after the report, slightly lower than the average move of 6.5 percent. Current implied volatility is elevated, trading near 108 percent versus a three-month average of 38.

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