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Traders bet on Cisco and against Best Buy ahead of earnings next week

  • Options traders are betting Cisco will move higher on earnings, but that Best Buy will trade lower.
  • Heavy options buying in Cisco November 34.50 calls, according to Pete Najarian.
  • Jon Najarian is seeing put buying in shares of Best Buy.
  • The Najarians scored winning trades on JD.com and Anadarko Petroleum this week.

Next week key technology and retail names are set to release earnings, and traders are making big bets ahead of those reports.

In keeping with the recent market trends, they are betting that Cisco moves higher after earnings, while retailer Best Buy will trade down.

This week bullish investors bought more than 11,000 Cisco calls with a November 34.50 strike price. The San Jose, California-based company is scheduled to report earnings Wednesday after the bell. The calls expire next Friday and so as long as the stock trades above $34.50 by then, the investors can exercise their right to buy the stock and collect a profit (minus their cost to purchase the option).

Options can be a less costly way to play the market because if the stock fails to reach the strike price, the investor is only out the price he or she paid for the option. But they do hold big risks too since they are just a contract and so their value can go to zero quickly.

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Best Buy is also set to report earnings next week, and if options activity is any indication, the company could miss estimates, according to Pete and Jon Najarian. Last month bears bought more than 11,000 puts at the 52.50 strike price. The stock closed Thursday at $55.93.

Best Buy is up more than 30 percent this year — one of the few retailers in the green as rising pressure from Amazon and a shift in consumer preferences have sent retail stocks tumbling.

While Jon Najarian likes the company, he's following the bears this time around. He believes one of Best Buy's moves to compete with Amazon may actually pressure the company's profit.

"They [Best Buy] just initiated free shipping with no minimums, and I think that could impact both revenue on the positive side, but also profitability, so I like the puts in Best Buy ahead of the earnings," Jon said.

He believes the stock could test "$50 again" after it reports earnings Thursday before the bell. That represents a more than 10 percent decline from current levels.

According to FactSet estimates, analysts are expecting the retailer to report earnings per share of 73 cents on $9.36 billion in revenue.

Elsewhere in the market, the Najarians have seen high options volume trading in JD.com and Anadarko Petroleum.

Last Friday bulls piled into JD.com calls, buying more than 4,000 at the November 42.50 strike price. Pete Najarian bought those calls for 50 cents on Friday. As demand for those specific calls grew, the option price doubled to $1 by Tuesday, when Pete got out of the trade. The stock has popped 5 percent since Thursday's close.

Also on Friday Jon Najarian bought Anadarko Petroleum calls at the 52.50 strike price after he noticed heavy trading activity in the name. The stock hasn't quite reached that level yet, although it's up 5 percent (through Thursday's close) since Jon bought the calls on Friday.