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Is the Options Market Predicting a Spike in Valero (VLO) Stock?

Investors in Valero Energy Corporation VLO need to pay close attention to the stock based on moves in the options market lately. That is because the Jun 16, 2023 $55.00 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 Valero shares, but what is the fundamental picture for the company? Currently, Valero is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) in the Oil and Gas - Refining and Marketing industry that ranks in the Top 46% of our Zacks Industry Rank. Over the last 60 days, one analyst has increased the earnings estimates for the current quarter, while three have dropped their estimates. The net effect has taken our Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current quarter from $7.53 per share to $6.19 in that period.

Given the way analysts feel about Valero 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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