Earnings Preview: Juniper Networks, Inc., American Airlines Group Inc., and AstraZeneca PLC

Analyzing recent option activity ahead of earnings from Juniper Networks, Inc. (JNPR), American Airlines Group Inc (AAL), and AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (AZN)

by Griffin Kruse

Published on Apr 23, 2015 at 1:41 PM

Among the stocks gearing up to report earnings are tech concern Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR), airline issue American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ:AAL), and biotech firm AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN). Below, we'll take the pre-earnings temperature of JNPR, AAL, and AZN.

  • JNPR is up nearly 30% since notching an annual low of $18.41 on Oct. 15 to linger near $23.91 -- just shy of recent resistance in the $24.50 region. In today's session, though, the shares of Juniper Networks, Inc. are down 2% ahead of tonight's trip to the earnings confessional. In the options pits, traders have been more put-skewed than usual, as JNPR's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 2.42 is the highest such reading from the past year. Simply stated, near-term traders have never been this put-heavy on the stock over the past 12 months. On the earnings front, JNPR has spent three of the last four post-earnings sessions in the red. The stock's near-term straddle is pricing in a 3.5% move in either direction; JNPR has staged a single-session post-earnings swing of 6%, on average, over the past eight quarters. Short-term options on JNPR are available for relatively fair prices, as its Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 34% ranks in the 57th percentile of its annual range.
  • AAL shares are down about 9% from their Jan. 26 all-time high of $56.20 to hover at $51.22. American Airlines Group Inc is in favor with the brokerage bunch, though, as 77% of covering analysts rate it a "buy" or better, with the remaining 23% doling out lukewarm "hold" opinions. Furthermore, AAL will release first-quarter earnings tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, the stock suffered a 5% post-earnings dip in January, and has made a move of 4.2%, on average, after its last five earnings reports. The equity's near-term straddle is pricing in a move of 3.9%. Traders are paying historically deflated prices for their near-term bets on the stock, as AAL's SVI of 43% is higher than 42% of all equivalent readings from the past year. 
  • The shares of AZN have been range-bound since mid-2014, with rally attempts stalling in the $74-$75 neighborhood. The stock is down 0.5% at $73 today, as the company prepares to release earnings tomorrow morning. Traders have favored puts over calls in the options pits, as AstraZeneca plc's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 1.30 is higher than 93% of all equivalent readings from the past 12 months. Historically, AZN hasn't achieved a positive post-earnings session since August 2013. The security has averaged a single-session move of 1.3% after reporting, but this time around, its near-the-money straddle is pricing in a 3.6% swing. Near-term options are available for historically inexpensive prices, as AZN's SVI of 21% stands in the 20th percentile of its annual range. 

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