Options bulls are moving on Apple heading into earnings

Here's what options traders are saying about Apple earnings tomorrow

All eyes will be on Apple when the tech giant reports earnings after the bell Wednesday.

Fresh off the heels of the company's latest iPhone release and the formal announcement of upcoming streaming service Apple TV+, investors will be looking for clear-cut signs of strong growth ahead to keep the stock's incredible run going.

Apple broke out to a brand-new all-time intraday high Tuesday before closing the session in the red, and options traders are optimistic that the company can hit even higher heights after it reports.

"Call volume ran kind of hot. It was 1½ times that of puts today," said Dan Nathan, founder of Risk Reversal Advisors, said Tuesday on "Fast Money."

As Nathan would point out, the options market is implying a move of about 4.5% in either direction into the weekend after Apple's report, and elevated call buying would suggest that traders are betting on that move resolving to the upside.

"The most active strike was the Nov. 1 weekly 250-calls. A little more than 26,000 of those traded at an average of $3.13," Nathan said. "Maybe about 13,000 or so were opening, and when you think about that sort of price action – weeklies into an event like this – you're just saying that these are traders looking to, kind of, play the momentum that's been in place over the last few weeks into what they expect to be a good earnings report."

As always, though, there are reasons that these traders are defining their risk by purchasing call options in Apple rather than buying the stock itself.

"A few weeks ago, the stock broke out above that all-time high from about a year ago, here, and it just kept on going until today when we had that little move [lower]," said Nathan. "This stock is up 54% on the year, it's up 70% from the low that it made on Jan. 2 after it had that very disappointing Q1 in China."

Simply put, instead of buying the stock, these call-buying traders are choosing to define their risk by capping their losses at the $3.13 they paid per contract, rather than buying shares outright and facing potentially heavy consequences should Apple miss the mark.

Apple was modestly lower at around $242 a share midmorning Wednesday..


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