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How Much Fuel Does Cirrus Logic Have in the Tank?

CRUS traders are selling out-of-the-money calls

by 11/21/2012 2:38 PM
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The shares of Cirrus Logic, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRUS - 31.32) have advanced nearly 10% so far this week, with the stock on pace to end atop both its 10-day and 200-day moving averages for just the second time since Oct. 31. However, it looks like some options traders are gambling on limited short-term upside for the security.

The stock's out-of-the-money December 36 call has seen more than 2,100 contracts traded on open interest of fewer than 1,100, hinting at newly opened positions. However, nearly three-quarters of the calls have changed hands at the bid price, suggesting they were sold.

By writing the calls to open, the sellers are expecting CRUS to remain south of $36 -- home to the stock's late-July bullish gap -- through the next few weeks. In this best-case scenario, the calls will expire worthless, allowing the sellers to retain the entire premium received at initiation.

Broadening our sentiment scope, today's call writers aren't the only group with low expectations for CRUS. Short interest accounts for about 10% of the equity's total available float, and would take about three sessions to unwind, at the stock's average daily trading volume.

On the other hand, analysts remain firmly entrenched in the bullish camp. In fact, seven of the nine brokerage firms following CRUS consider it a "strong buy," with the other two doling out lukewarm "hold" ratings. In similar fashion, the consensus 12-month price target among the group stands at $51.88 -- representing expected upside of nearly 71% to CRUS' closing price of $30.34 on Tuesday, and in territory not explored since 1995.

At last check, CRUS has added 3.2% to wink at the $31.32 level, after the chip maker's board authorized a buyback of as much as $200 million in stock.

Daily Chart of CRUS since July 2012 With 10-Day and 200-Day Moving Averages


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