While the lines for Shake Shack burgers are long, traders don't seem as excited for the stock's puts and calls.
Shares of the New York-based burger chain, trading under ticker symbol SHAK, have captured the imagination of investors. It's been likened to the Tesla of Burgers, as the stock is up more than 23 percent since its IPO, and at one point traded near $100 a share. But so far, investors have found SHAK options, which had been late in coming to the market, far less appealing.
On Friday, when SHAK options officially listed for the first time since the company's January IPO, fewer than 1,800 total contracts (1,296 calls and 485 puts) traded on the day. On a typical day, options volume in names such as Chipotle and McDonald's run a respective 17,000 and 32,000 contracts.
"I think the primary reason for this is if you look at the prices of the options for this stock, they are very high and it can be a little bit confusing," options expert Mike Khouw said Friday on CNBC's "Options Action." "The reason it is confusing is this stock is hard to borrow. There is a small float, and there's a high short interest, and what that means is when people want to short the stock you have to pay up to do that." Khouw noted that as of July 31, short interest in the stock runs at 43.5 percent of the float, per the Nasdaq.
In other words, the small number of tradable shares has made betting against the stock difficult. With few shares available to sell short, traders are instead looking to the options market to place bearish bets. And that has increased the price of puts relative to calls.
"The cost of the puts is directly related to the borrowing costs in the stock, which are high," said Khouw.
For those traders with an appetite for the stock, Khouw said the only way investors should get long Shake Shack is to buy call options. However, he advised the underlying stock is already fully priced.
Wall Street seems to agree with Khouw's assessment that the stock might be overvalued. Of the eight analysts that cover the stock, the average price target is $47.20 with a rating of overweight.