Options Market Picks: 10 Mega-Cap Stocks with Bullish Options Sentiment

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Stock options are interesting because they can provide a glimpse into the future - or at least what investors predict the future holds. Because options pay off at a future date from the time of purchase, stock option trends can indicate where investors expect stocks to move.

The two major stock options are call options and put options, and they represent optimism and pessimism respectively. Call options are the option to buy a stock at a future date and at a price set today -- calls become profitable when the stock rises, so buying a call indicates the investor expects the stock to rise.

Put options are the exact opposite. Puts are the option to sell a stock at a future date at a price determined today, which becomes profitable if the stock falls over that time period. Investors buy puts when they become pessimistic on the stock's outlook.

The put/call ratio
The ratio of open interest put options to call options is called the put/call ratio, and it's a popular gauge for options traders' sentiment on the stock.

If a stock sees a significant increase in its put/call ratio, it represents a bearish (or pessimistic) development in options traders' outlook on the stock. Decreases indicate bullish changes in sentiment.

Investment ideas
To demonstrate this idea, we ran a screen on the 200 largest stocks by market cap, which we refer to as the "mega-cap stocks." We screened these stocks for those seeing significant decreases in their put/call ratios over the last 10 trading days, indicating bullish changes in sentiment from the options market.

Do you agree with options traders' optimism on these names?

List sorted by decrease in put/call ratio. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NYS: NTT) : Provides telecommunications services to residential and business customers in Japan. Market cap of $74.32B. Put/call ratio decreased from 2.3 to 0 between 10/18 and 10/31, a decrease of 100.00%.

2. Fomento Econ (NYS: FMX) : Engages in non-alcoholic beverage, retail, and beer industries. Market cap of $119.96B. Put/call ratio decreased from 0.54 to 0.11 between 10/18 and 10/31, a decrease of 79.63%.

3. Companhia de Bebidas Das Americas (NAS: AMBEV) : Engages in the production, distribution, and sale of beer, draft beer, carbonated soft drinks, malt, and other non-alcoholic and non-carbonated products in the Americas. Market cap of $105.13B. Put/call ratio decreased from 0.72 to 0.21 between 10/18 and 10/31, a decrease of 70.83%.

4. News Corp. (NAS: NWSA) : Operates as a diversified media company worldwide. Market cap of $46.09B. Put/call ratio decreased from 1.1 to 0.33 between 10/18 and 10/31, a decrease of 70.00%.

5. LM Ericsson Telephone (NAS: ERIC) : Provides communications equipment, professional services, and multimedia solutions to mobile and fixed networks operators worldwide. Market cap of $34.08B. Put/call ratio decreased from 1.11 to 0.34 between 10/18 and 10/31, a decrease of 69.37%.

6. TransCanada (NYS: TRP) : Operates as an energy infrastructure company in North America. Market cap of $30.26B. Put/call ratio decreased from 0.12 to 0.04 between 10/18 and 10/31, a decrease of 66.67%.

7. Telefonica (NYS: TEF) : Provides fixed and mobile telephony services primarily in Spain, rest of Europe, and Latin America. Market cap of $97.53B. Put/call ratio decreased from 1.03 to 0.42 between 10/18 and 10/31, a decrease of 59.22%.

8. Time Warner (NYS: TWX) : Operates as a media and entertainment company in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $36.56B. Put/call ratio decreased from 1.19 to 0.58 between 10/18 and 10/31, a decrease of 51.26%.

9. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NAS: TEVA) : Develops, produces, and markets generic drugs; and proprietary branded pharmaceuticals in various therapeutic categories and active pharmaceutical ingredients worldwide. Market cap of $38.44B. Put/call ratio decreased from 0.8 to 0.42 between 10/18 and 10/31, a decrease of 47.50%.

10. Canadian Natural Resources (NYS: CNQ) : Engages in the exploration, development, production, marketing, and sale of crude oil, natural gas liquids, and natural gas. Market cap of $38.70B. Put/call ratio decreased from 0.77 to 0.42 between 10/18 and 10/31, a decrease of 45.45%.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.


Kapitall's Alexander Crawford does not own any of the shares mentioned above. Options data sourced from Schaeffer's.

At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Telefonica and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of TransCanada, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and Fomento Econ. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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