YOLO Crowd Bets Nvidia Could More Than Double in Value by Friday

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(Bloomberg) — Nvidia Corp., the world’s third-largest company by market value, is turning into a casino for the YOLO trading crowd.

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Just look at the options activity on Monday, when traders bet that shares of the $2.2 trillion chipmaker will more than double its $885 price — by the weekend. Nvidia is no stranger to triple-digit gains after soaring 231% in 2023 on optimism for its semiconductors used in artificial intelligence technology. But pulling that off in less than a week would be quite a reach, even for the hottest stock in the market.

Between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., traders appeared to have bought more than 24,000 Nvidia call contracts that expire Friday with a strike price of $1,940. They bought it in small lots of about 900 contracts, which could be indicative of retail traders, and paid $24,000 in total.

While the trade is insignificant next to wagers on single-digit moves in the stock, it does bring back memories of 2021’s meme-stock mania. The difference this time is Nvidia is one of the most valuable stocks on the planet, not some tiny outfit that can rise and fall in an instant with traders capturing profits in either direction.

While there’s pretty much no chance Nvidia will close remotely close to the level of those options, traders could in theory sell the contracts for profit if Nvidia rallies during an annual AI conference that kicked off in San Jose, California, on Monday afternoon. Jensen Huang, Nvidia’s chief executive officer, delivered the keynote, introducing new chips aimed at extending his company’s dominance of artificial intelligence computing, a position that’s already made it the world’s third-most-valuable business.

“Nvidia has been an investor favorite to play the AI trend,” said Michael Beth, director of equity and derivatives trading at WallachBeth Capital LLC. “We are now also seeing what looks to be retail making some interesting plays while the Nividia AI developer conference goes on this week.”

Chris Murphy, co-head of equity derivative strategy at Susquehanna International Group, said the trade could be a tail-risk type of hedge. In theory, the traders could have short call options on Nvidia with lower strikes and offset them with a long position on these further out-of-money call options.

Nvidia closed up 0.7% on Monday after rising as much as 5.2% earlier in the day. The stock has gained 79% in 2024.

All told, some 33,000 call contracts with this strike and expiration appear to have been bought on Monday. It was the third-most traded contract on Nvidia that day.

–With assistance from Matt Turner.

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