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Real-Time Options Data

Option Flow

Overview

Flow Screeners are also called "Prints", these are screeners that look at the actual options trades and then count a bunch of things in real time.

These screeners are useful for you to see which strikes traders are loading up on or selling and determine what kind of impact that is having on the stocks that you care about. I've always found it best to keep it simple with Flow and not let it give you too much confirmation bias.

Also keep in mind that these are real life trades. There appears to be a lot of information, but there is still more information that is unknown, so this is still a case of a-symmetric information (ant not in your favor).

For example, we don't know the intent of any traders, investors, funds, or other institutions involved in the trade. We don't know their cost basis or why they took the trade. We don't know what the rest of their portfolio looks like. We don't know if this is the whole position, if they're adding to a position or liquidating a position and if liquidating, how much of their position is left.

Regarding Percent Bid and Percent Ask: It is very important for the trader to keep this in perspective and also check what the bid-ask spread is for the particular option. It could very well be that the bid-ask spread is < .05. In which case (due to options pricing) it is very likely that all trades happen on the bid or the ask. In that case it should not be interpreted as a bullish or bearish signal.

In summary, option flow data can be a valuable tool for traders looking for potential trade opportunities in the options market. By analyzing the data and looking for high-volume trades and unusual activity, traders can identify potential market moves and make informed trading decisions. However, it is important to use option flow data in conjunction with other market indicators and to have a good understanding of the underlying asset before making any trades.

Bullish Calls and Bearish Puts

Call activity is considered bullish when the majority of the trades are executed near or at the ask price. This is considered buyer driven behavior as the buyers are paying whatever the sellers are asking.

The same is true for puts. Activity is considered bearish when the trades are executed near or at the as price.

You should be especially careful with this screener. Double check my note about the bid-ask spread above and then also be aware that these screeners do not exclude options that were placed as part of a spread trade. All option orders print as single legs, so there is some trickery to do to determine with high probability whether or not an option was part of a spread, but it is all guesswork.

Largest Implied Volatility (IV)

This screener is often used for new trade ideas. Investors like volatility (to a degree) because it raises option prices. If you're looking for interesting things happening to stocks, then look for high IV. Because interesting things are what cause IV to go up. If you come back to this screener often you'll notice some common names appear on it and you'll quickly know why, like during the SVB meltdown names like FRC and PACW were always at the top of the list. During the GME and AMC squeezes? That's right, they dominated the high IV lists. You almost don't even need to read the news, just come to this screener and you'll know which stocks are in the news for sure. Then maybe check the news to see if it is something you want to trade and if so, which way to trade.

Largest Open Interest (OI)

Have you ever tried to buy or sell a random option contract and then become frustrated with how the price suddenly moved or how difficult it was for you to get in or out of the trade? That happens a lot to the best of us! Whenever there aren't a lot of options open (open interest) then weird things can happen with the options prices. Therefore, this screener can be used to quickly zero in on the most liquid options having the most open interest.

So if you're considering trading an option on a particular stock and you're flexible or not sure of which price or expiration, then you might just want to gravitate to the same option that everyone else is trading, and this screener will do that for you. Just filter by the ticker and sort by the OI (which is the default sort).

Most Active Options

These options are Most Active by volume today. You'll notice the volume number grow throughout the day. That is because we're adding the volume as the options are traded. This screener is updated about every 10-15 minutes.

You also have some notable columns:

  • Delta
  • PctBid - The percent of the volume traded closer to the bid
  • PctAsk - The percent of the volume traded closer to the ask
  • DeltaImpact - A way of measuring the impact that the options have in terms of share count.
  • TotalPremium - The total aggregated dollars spent for the volume traded