I’ve become somewhat interested in the Max (Option) Pain Theory recently. In short, it’s a way to predict the price of a stock on a certain date using open option interest. The theory, which has been around for a while, is based on the fact that stock prices tend to gravitate towards a point where the majority of options will expire worthless. More detailed explanations can be found at the following Seeking Alpha article.
There are a number of online max option pain calculators: OptionPain, OptionCalc, MaxPain, MaxPa.in, Strike Pegger, etc. Unfortunately, these online calculators do not have much historical data, so it’s difficult to determine how well the theory predicts stock prices at option expiration. I’ve created a Max Pain calculator in Excel that allows you to enter historical option interest data to back-test how well the theory works. For more on how Max Pain is actually calculated, see Optionetics.
From my limited analysis, the theory is somewhat useful for certain stocks. The stocks should have a ton of open option interest like AAPL. Not surprisingly, the theory works better as the option expiration date nears, i.e. the forecast tends to be more correct at two weeks vs. four weeks from expiration. People (e.g. Travis Lewis at AAPLPain) are using variations on the theory to trade stocks and options successfully.