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Option Idea of the Week: OpenTable

After toppling former resistance, OPEN could have a clear path higher

by 1/11/2013 12:50 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

Since bouncing off its 200-day moving average over a month ago, online maitre d' OpenTable Inc (NASDAQ:OPEN - 52.57) has advanced roughly 26%, and touched a new annual high just last week. Despite its technical prowess, though, the security remains plagued by pessimism on Wall Street, pointing to a potential opportunity for contrarian bulls.

Digging deeper into the technicals, OPEN has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 12 percentage points during the past three months. Plus, with the shares already roughly 7.7% higher for January, OPEN is on pace to end atop its 10-month and 20-month moving averages for the first time since May 2011. These formerly resistive trendlines could now switch roles to serve as support. In the same vein, OPEN is now trading north of $50, which contained the stock's rally attempts in 2012, but could transition into a technical foothold.

Monthly Chart of OPEN since August 2011 With 10-Month and 20-Month Moving Averages

As alluded to earlier, OPEN's upward momentum on the charts has yet to register with Wall Street. Currently, just three out of 10 analysts deem the stock worthy of a "buy" or better endorsement. Likewise, the average 12-month price target on the equity rests at $49.82, representing a discount to OPEN's current share price. However, just today analysts at Raymond James upped their price target to $59 from $53, and offered up an "outperform" rating. Should more brokerage firms follow suit, another round of upbeat analyst attention could add contrarian fuel to the fire.

Elsewhere, short interest accounts for a whopping 38% of OPEN's total available float, underscoring the skepticism surrounding the outperformer. In fact, at the equity's average daily trading volume, it would take more than seven sessions to buy back all of these bearish bets. A short-squeeze situation could also work to OPEN's advantage.

Meanwhile, option traders have initiated pessimistic positions at a rapid-fire rate lately. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculators have bought to open almost five OPEN puts for every call during the past two weeks. What's more, the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 4.57 stands just 3 percentage points from a 52-week peak, implying that option buyers have picked up puts over calls at a near annual-high clip. An unwinding of skepticism in the options pits could translate into a contrarian tailwind for OPEN.

Investors expecting OPEN to extend its journey into the black should consider buying the stock's in-the-money April 50 calls, which were last asked at $6.10.


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