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Implied Volatility Surging for Washington Prime (WPG) Stock Options

Zacks.com logo Zacks.com 11/25/2020

Investors in Washington Prime Group Inc. WPG need to pay close attention to the stock based on moves in the options market lately. That is because the Dec 18, 2021 $2.50 Call had some of the highest implied volatility of all equity options today.

What is Implied Volatility?

Implied volatility shows how much movement the market is expecting in the future. Options with high levels of implied volatility suggest that investors in the underlying stocks are expecting a big move in one direction or the other. It could also mean there is an event coming up soon that may cause a big rally or a huge sell-off. However, implied volatility is only one piece of the puzzle when putting together an options trading strategy.

What do the Analysts Think?

Clearly, options traders are pricing in a big move for Washington Prime shares, but what is the fundamental picture for the company? Currently, Washington Prime is a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) in the REIT and Equity Trust – Retail industry that ranks in the Bottom 7% of our Zacks Industry Rank. Over the last 60 days, no analyst has increased the earnings estimates for the current quarter, while one has dropped the estimates. The net effect has taken our Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current quarter from 21 cents per shareto 9 cents in that period.

Given the way analysts feel about Washington Prime right now, this huge implied volatility could mean there’s a trade developing. Oftentimes, options traders look for options with high levels of implied volatility to sell premium. This is a strategy many seasoned traders use because it captures decay. At expiration, the hope for these traders is that the underlying stock does not move as much as originally expected.

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