Earnings Preview: Micron Technology, Inc. (MU)

Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) will take its late-season turn in the earnings confessional after tomorrow's close

by Karee Venema

Published on Sep 30, 2015 at 10:51 AM

We've reached the tail end of earnings season, and while many are keeping a close eye on Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) -- whose trip into the confessional next Thursday evening will unofficially mark the start of a new earnings season -- there's still one notable name on deck. Specifically, semiconductor concern Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) is slated to take its turn on the earnings stage tomorrow night.

Ahead of the event, MU -- along with the broader equities market -- is in rally mode, up 4.8% at $15.07. However, this represents a stark contrast to the stock's withstanding trajectory. Year-to-date, in fact, the security has shed 57% of its value, and notched a fresh two-year low of $13.50 on Aug. 24.

Option traders have kept the faith, though, and at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), MU's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 5.64 ranks in the 98th percentile of its annual range. In other words, calls have been bought to open over puts at a faster clip just 2% of the time within the past year.

Echoing this is MU's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.57, which sits lower than 77% of all similar readings taken in the past year. Simply stated, short-term speculators are more call-heavy than usual toward the stock.

In the past 10 trading days, MU's November 20 call has seen 25,038 new positions added -- the most of any strike. Today, calls are crossing at six times what's typically seen at this point in the day. Most active is the security's January 2016 20-strike call, which is seeing some buy-to-close activity, per the ISE. Meanwhile, new positions are apparently being opened at MU's weekly 10/2 15- and 17.50-strike calls, which expire at this Friday's close.

Those purchasing new positions on MU ahead of earnings are willing to pay a pretty penny. Specifically, the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 76% sits just 11 percentage points from a 52-week peak. Plus, the equity's 30-day at-the-money (ATM) implied volatility of 70.4% ranks in the 99th annual percentile. What this pair of indicators is showing is that MU's short-term options are pricing in elevated volatility expectations at the moment.

Looking back over the past eight quarters, Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) has averaged a single-session post-earnings swing of 7.1% -- including an 18.2% plunge last June. This time around, the stock's near-term ATM straddle is pricing in a loftier 10.2% swing.

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