As earnings loom, Nvidia options traders brace for monster share move

By Thomson Reuters Feb 15, 2024 | 1:34 PM

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Traders in the U.S. equity options market are betting Nvidia’s upcoming earnings report could spur a massive move in the shares of the world’s most dominant artificial intelligence chipmaker.

Nvidia, up about 50% this year, could see its shares swing by about 11% in either direction following its quarterly results on Feb. 21, according to data from options analytics service ORATS. That’s the largest expected move options traders have priced in ahead of Nvidia’s earnings over the last three years and well above the stock’s actual average earnings move of 6.7% over that period, ORATS founder Matt Amberson said.

With Nvidia’s market capitalization at $1.8 trillion, a move of that size would make for a potential swing in market value of about $200 billion. That would be greater than the market capitalization of chipmaker Intel Corp and larger than the respective market values of about 90% of S&P 500 constituents.

On Thursday, more than 750,000 Nvidia options had changed hands by 1 p.m. (1800 GMT), making it the second most actively traded single stock name in the options market.

Despite the sizeable run-up in the stock, demand for upside options bets on Nvidia remained intact, with one measure of sentiment – the stock’s 90-day 25 delta call skew – near a five- year high, according to a Susquehanna analysis.

“The elevated call skew tells us that investors still see the potential for significant upside despite the move already made and that there is significant demand for upside exposure as some who may be fearful of the high volatility turn to upside calls for lower-risk exposure,” Christopher Jacobson, a strategist at Susquehanna Financial Group, said.

On Wednesday, Nvidia overtook Google-parent Alphabet as the third most valuable U.S. company.

Nvidia is expected to post earnings of $4.56 a share, and a rise in quarterly revenue to $20.378 billion from $6.05 billion a year ago, according to the mean estimate from 33 analysts, based on LSEG data.

(Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Ira Iosebashvili and Leslie Adler)