What Are the Top Stocks for Options Trading?

What Are the Top Stocks for Options Trading?

It’s been a record year for options trading. But not all stocks are equal in the eyes of options traders.

Some symbols are incredibly active, with hundreds of thousands of transactions per day. Others barely trade at all, even if they’re large or well-known companies.

Focusing on volume is a useful way to find the top stocks for options trading. After all, symbols with more transactions are more liquid. They tend to have tighter bid / ask spreads, lowering transaction costs. That can also make it easier to use complex options strategies like vertical spreads with multiple legs.

Most Traded Options

The stocks that trade the most options change over time, so it can help to search for the most active symbols.

Here are the 10 busiest symbols over the last month, ranked by average daily call and put volume:

CompanyAvg Options
SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY)4 millionTracks S&P 500
Apple (AAPL)1.7 millionIPhones, computers
Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ)1 millionTrades Nasdaq-100
Tesla (TSLA)742,000Electric cars
Nio (NIO)731,000Electric cars
iShares Russell 2000 (IWM)608,000Small caps
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)372,000Semiconductors
Microsoft (MSFT)358,000Software
Facebook (FB)343,000Social media
Snap (SNAP)341,000Social media

How to Find Stocks With Active Options

There are a few ways to find stocks with active options.

The most complete, but slower method, is with Scanner:

  • Click on Add to create a new scan.
  • Select “All Stocks” under the Symbol Universe.
  • Under Criteria select Indicator → “Volume – All Opts”
  • Change VolAll to VolAllAvg
  • Set the Operator to “>”
  • Type “1000” under Field/Value

This will find all symbols averaging at least 1,000 contracts per day in the last 20 sessions. It may take several minutes to complete, but you can schedule the scan to run automatically at a quiet time like the overnight.

Traders can also import all the members of an index like the S&P 500 into RadarScreen®. They can add “Volume – All Opts” as a column, and then sort on it.

Finally, the Hot Lists tool includes several pre-built scans highlighting options activity. Here are two useful lists for discovering stocks with the most liquid options:

  • Most options volume (current session): Equities → “Volume Lists” → “Most Active – Call&Put Volume”
  • Most options open interest: Equities → “Volume Lists” → “Most Active – Call&Put Volume”
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