Microsoft (MSFT) Option Traders Optimistic After Earnings

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Microsoft (MSFT) Option Traders Optimistic After Earnings

The activities of option traders suggest that they think the share price will increase going forward after Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) beat analysts’ forecasts for its fiscal fourth quarter earnings reports. Given that the MSFT share price only dropped by less than 1% the day following the news, this could come as a surprise.

Microsoft surpassed analysts’ estimates, which called for profits per share (EPS) of $1.92 and sales of $44.24 billion, by reporting EPS of $2.17 and $46.15 billion in revenue. Microsoft gave upbeat revenue projections despite chip supply restrictions reducing Windows revenue from device manufacturers. Investors maintained MSFT share prices high prior to the announcement, and there was a substantial amount of open interest in call options.

The amount of option activity suggested that traders had been buying calls and selling puts. After the IT giant exceeded analysts’ estimates, option activity indicated that traders are still upbeat about the share price of MSFT. That’s because the price movement has remained strong, and option activity suggested that traders were still buying calls and selling puts.

Option traders may be overconfident, according to some data comparing the price movements of option trading activity and stock prices on the days after results. This may come as a surprise given that the share price of MSFT dropped by less than 1% the day following results even though it finished much higher than its 20-day moving average. Additionally, activity in call options rose while activity in put options fell. This may occur because option traders think MSFT is inexpensive at the moment and will rise in the near future.

Key Takeaways

  • Next the release of the results report, traders and investors sold their Microsoft shares as the stock declined by less than 1% the following day.
  • MSFT’s stock price closed significantly higher than its 20-day moving average.
  • Call and put option trading seems to be anticipating a price increase.
  • The support and resistance levels, which are based on volatility, allow for a bigger swing downward than upward.
  • Trading opportunities are presented by this setup should the earnings-based share price trend reverse.
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Trading options is essentially placing a bet on market possibilities, and traders are often more educated than other investors when placing such a bet. Understanding the context of the pricing behavior is essential to making the most of this understanding. The price movement for MSFT’s shares on Friday is seen in the chart below, which also shows the setup after the earnings release.

Current Trends

Shares of the company had been trading in an extremely wide range over the previous month, hovering considerably above the 20-day moving average, before dropping by less than 1% the day following the news. Price ended at the higher area shown by the technical analyses on this chart.

The studies’ 20-day Keltner Channel indications serve as its foundation. These are price levels that are multiples of the stock’s average true range (ATR). The price’s continued stability in the higher range is shown by this array. This price change in MSFT shares suggests that market participants have faith in the stock’s future share price.


A common method for displaying historical volatility over time is the Average True Range (ATR). Two to four weeks of trade on a daily chart are often included in the 10 to 20 time periods that make up the standard average length of time utilized in its computation.

Observers of the price movement for MSFT, which reached its all-time high before the results release, may tell that traders were feeling upbeat heading into earnings. By focusing on the specifics of option trading, chart watchers might also develop an opinion on investor expectations. Trading activity before to the release suggested that investors believed MSFT would rise following the earnings report.


A 20-day simple moving average, an upper and lower line, and a series of semi-parallel lines are shown by the Keltner Channel indicator. This channel indicator provides for a fantastic visualization tool for charting historical volatility since the higher lines are produced by adding a multiple of ATR to the average and the lower lines are drawn by subtracting a multiple of ATR from the average price.

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Trading Activity

Recent option trading activity suggests that investors believe Microsoft shares are cheap. As a result, call options have been acquired as a wager that the stock will close between now and August 20, the next monthly option expiry date, within the box shown on the chart. The price that the call option sellers are providing is shown by the green-framed box. By August 20, there is a 70% likelihood that MSFT shares will finish inside this range or higher. Sellers are thus just somewhat positive. Buyers, however, are grabbing these prices, indicating that they believe these options are underpriced. It seems that purchasers are ready to face the long odds because the pricing suggests just a 30% possibility that prices might close above this green area.

It is significant to note that on Friday, there were more than 1.4 million call options ready for trading compared to just under 1.3 million put options, highlighting the bias among option purchasers who preferred calls to puts. This often suggests that option traders anticipate an increase in price fluctuation. After results, volatility dropped significantly, but the open interest in put options is still high and the open interest in call options is rising. This indicates that put option sellers are selling them rather than buying them, which fosters a bullish outlook.

The call open interest vastly surpasses the put open interest for the strikes at the money and one step either way. More traders expect Microsoft share prices will climb than decrease, as seen by the fact that out-of-the-money put option volume falls significantly more quickly than out-of-the-money call traffic.

The 10-day Keltner Channel research with a four-times ATR setting produced the purple lines on the graph. With this metric, the price action is more likely to produce zones of strong support and resistance that are strongly connected. When the channel lines have recently made a considerable turn, these areas become visible.

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The graphic below includes annotations for the levels that the turns designate. This chart’s call and put prices are in such a narrow range with plenty of room to move lower, which is noteworthy. This implies that option purchasers anticipate a larger likelihood of share price growth in the weeks following the report. The share price moved less than it did following the last earnings announcement, despite the fact that investors and option traders anticipated upward movement from the report.

These levels of support and resistance demonstrate a wide range of price support and resistance. As a consequence, a significant movement in either way is probable in the near future. The day after the prior earnings report, MSFT shares dropped 2.83%, and they kept dropping throughout the next week. In the week after this statement, investors may not be anticipating the same type of price movement. Share prices may increase or fall more than anticipated in the near future due to the wide volatility range; nonetheless, there is more space in the volatility range to support a move to the downside.

Wrapping Up

Microsoft easily outperformed forecasts for EPS and sales. Even though supply issues reduced the amount of money that device manufacturers paid Windows, the business nevertheless delivered a record-breaking quarter, and even its future outlook above analysts’ expectations. The share price declined less than 1% the day after the news was issued, indicating that investors were taking profits, but it is still much higher than its 20-day moving average.

Bullish optimism is shown by the apparent purchase of calls and selling of puts by option traders. It should be observed, nonetheless, that the share price movement leaves more space in the volatility range for a future decline in the share price.

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