As Silver ETFs Soar, Options Activity Turns Brisk

Silver funds, such as the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) and the ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca: SIVR), two of the largest physically-backed silver exchange traded funds, are on fire and that may be stating things in a delicate manner.

For much of this year as gold prices and ETFs soared, silver ETFs did the same but trailed their gold counterparts. That trend has reversed in favor of the silver funds. Silver prices shot to 10-month highs Tuesday, helping lift SLV and SIVR to year-to-date gains of over 22%.

There is a growing number of silver market observers that believe the metal has more significant upside ahead. Investors have previously turned to silver exchange traded funds as an asset with a safe store of value and as a metal with wide industrial application in a growing economy.

Not surprisingly, the options market is taking notice of SLV, but traders there appear split on what is next for the white-hot white metal.

“SLV options are trading at twice the usual intraday rate. One of the most active strikes is the May 15 put, where it looks like a mix of buy- and sell-to-open activity is taking place. If that is the case, the buyers expect SLV to retreat below $15 by front-month options expiration — at the close on Friday, May 20 — while the sellers anticipate the underfoot level will serve as technical support during the upcoming month,” according to Schaeffer’s Investment Research.