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Option Traders Optimistic On OpenTable Inc (OPEN) Ahead of Earnings

Elsewhere on the Street, though, sentiment toward OPEN is more skeptical

by 5/2/2013 11:26 AM
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Online reservationist OpenTable Inc (NASDAQ:OPEN) is slated to unveil its quarterly results after tonight's close. Given OPEN's solid history in the earnings confessional, it's no surprise to see option traders upping the bullish ante ahead of this evening's scheduled event.

Jumping right in... At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 10-day call/put volume ratio has jumped to 2.20 from its April 4 reading of 0.65. In other words, traders have bought to open more than two calls for every put during the past two weeks, as opposed to one month ago, when put volume handily outpaced call volume. The most recent ratio ranks higher than 81% of other such readings taken in the past year, pointing to a healthier-than-usual appetite for long calls over puts of late.

Echoing this recent campaign for calls is the stock's falling Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR). Since April 22, the equity's SOIR has dropped to 0.54 from 1.03, as near-term call open interest rose 314%. This ratio ranks in the 10th percentile of its annual range, indicating short-term speculators have rarely been more call-heavy toward OPEN. In the front-month series of options, this trend has translated into peak open call open interest at the overhead May 60 strike, where 4,240 contracts reside.

The sentiment backdrop outside of the options pits paints a very different picture, though. Short interest rose 1.1% during the most recent reporting period, and now accounts for more than one-fifth of the equity's available float. At OpenTable Inc's average daily trading volume, it would take more than a week to cover these shorted shares.

Elsewhere, no fewer than eight out of nine analysts maintain a "hold" or "strong sell" suggestion toward OpenTable, while the average 12-month price target of $52.73 represents a discount to the stock's current perch at $56.25.

Technically, OpenTable Inc (NASDAQ:OPEN) has added more than 15% year-to-date. However, after tagging a fresh 52-week peak of $65.00 on April 2, the equity entered a period of consolidation. The stock has managed to find a foothold atop its 100-day moving average -- currently located at $55.22.

Fundamentally, OpenTable Inc has met or exceeded analysts' bottom-line estimates in each of the past eight quarters. The price action following the reports hasn't been so positive, though, with the stock down, on average, 4.9% in the subsequent session, and 2.4% one week later. For OPEN's first quarter, Wall Street has forecast a per-share profit of 43 cents.


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