Why tech could see a $60B shift in market cap today

It could be make or break time for tech when Microsoft and Alphabet report earnings Thursday after the bell, according to one options trader.

"We have [Alphabet] and Microsoft, that's about a trillion dollars in market cap [reporting]," said Dan Nathan of RiskReversal on Wednesday on CNBC's "Fast Money."

Options traders use at-the-money put and call strike prices to estimate how much a stock will move for a given event. According to Nathan, Alphabet could see a move of about 6.5 percent in either direction, which is in line with its historical average in the last four quarters of 6.5 percent. As far as which direction the stock could move in, Nathan wasn't sure about its performance post earnings. Shares of Alphabet are up 43 percent in the last 12 months.

Microsoft could see a move of 4.6 percent, which is shy of its average of 7.5 percent. Nathan noted there have been 10 percent rallies in the last two quarters. However Nathan doesn't expect the same type of move this go around. "When you look at the muted reaction that Intel had [Wednesday], and maybe Qualcomm in the after-market, I would expect the stock to probably consolidate [around] $56," said Nathan. The stock is up 11 percent in the past three months.

Together, the implied moves for these stocks could represent a nearly $60 billion market cap swing for the tech sector. "Alphabet's move in either direction is $36 billion, Microsoft $20 billion," according to Nathan.

Both stocks were trading higher Thursday afternoon.


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  • Melissa Lee

    Melissa Lee is the host of CNBC's “Fast Money” and “Options Action.”

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