Earnings Preview: Palo Alto Networks Inc, Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc, and Lululemon Athletica inc.

Analyzing pre-earnings option trends on Palo Alto Networks Inc (PANW), Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc (OLLI), and Lululemon Athletica inc. (LULU)

Sep 9, 2015 at 1:57 PM
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Earnings season is winding down, but there are still a few notable names waiting in the wings. Cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) will unveil its results tonight, as will Wall Street rookie Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:OLLI). Meanwhile, athletic apparel maker Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) is slated to step on stage tomorrow. Below, we'll take the pre-earnings temperature of PANW, OLLI, and LULU.

  • PANW's near-term options are pricing in relatively lofty volatility expectations ahead of earnings, as the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 68% sits just 2 percentage points from an annual high. The stock's near-term at-the-money (ATM) straddle suggests traders are counting on a move of 6.6% after earnings, slightly larger than the one-day post-earnings move of 6.2% PANW has averaged over the past eight quarters. Short-term traders are more put-biased than usual ahead of earnings, as the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.07 stands higher than 87% of all other readings from the past year. At last check, Palo Alto Networks Inc is up 0.1% at $166.60, with its 32-week moving average emerging as support during the recent broad-market swoon.  
  • Mid-July was an unfortunate time to go public; while OLLI enjoyed a stellar debut, the stock eventually succumbed to August headwinds, and was last seen lingering near $17.30 -- down about 25% from its post-IPO high of $22.99, and not far from its IPO price of $16. Ahead of its first turn in the public earnings confessional, Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc option traders are pricing in an 8.1% swing in either direction, per the equity's near-term ATM straddle. OLLI is lightly traded among option traders, but calls are the options of choice. In particular, the stock's April 17.50 call has been most active during the past two weeks, with speculators apparently hoping for a long-term ascent north of the strike. 
  • LULU's short-term option traders are expecting a milder-than-usual post-earnings swing after tomorrow's report, as the stock's near-term ATM straddle is pricing in an 8.6% move, compared to the average one-day move of 9.8%, going back eight quarters. It looks like most traders are hoping for an upside breakout, as the equity's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 2.49 registers in the 68th percentile of its annual range, suggesting option buyers have picked up LULU calls over puts at a faster-than-usual pace during the past two weeks. Near-term traders are paying up, too, historically speaking; the stock's SVI sits at an annual high of 76%. On the charts, Lululemon Athletica inc. has spent most of 2015 dawdling between $60 and $70, -- and even dodged the August bear rush -- and could find an added layer of support in its 10-month moving average, currently at $63.48. At last look, LULU has surrendered 1.9% to sit at $64.63.

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