Apple stock options pricing in a tamer-than-usual earnings report

While investors prep for the unknown from Apple Inc. AAPL, +2.11%, ahead of the technology behemoth’s COVID-19-tainted fiscal second-quarter results after Thursday’s closing bell, options traders are pricing in a less volatile than reaction. An options strategy known as a straddle, a pure volatility play that involves the simultaneous buying of bullish and bearish options with at-the-month stock prices, is pricing in a one-day, post-earnings move of 4.4% in either direction. That compares with a 5.1% move in either direction on the day after earnings over the past 8 quarters, and a average 4.6% move over the past 20 quarters. Based on current stock prices–the shares are up 1.2% at $291.03 in afternoon trading–that means the stock would have to close above $303.83 on Friday or below $278.23 for buyers of the straddle to make money. Apple’s stock has lost 10% over the past 3 months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -1.17% has declined 16%.

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