Earnings Preview: Verizon Communications Inc., Travelers Companies Inc, and Southwest Airlines Co

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE:TRV), and Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) will report earnings tomorrow morning

by Karee Venema

Published on Jan 20, 2016 at 1:57 PM
Updated on Jan 20, 2016 at 2:03 PM

Blue chips are dominating the earnings calendar this week, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) taking it on the chin today in the wake of their disappointing results. Looking ahead, fellow blue chips Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE:TRV) are on tap to report tomorrow morning, as is airline issue Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV). Below, we'll take the pre-earnings temperature of VZ, TRV, and LUV.

  • VZ is trading 1.6% lower at $44.16, amid stiff broad-market headwinds. Today's negative price action is just more of the same for a stock that's shed 4.5% year-to-date. Option traders, it appears, are bracing for more losses, and at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), VZ's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 2.17 ranks in the 94th annual percentile. Simply stated, puts have been bought to open over calls at a near-annual-high clip.

    Historically speaking, Verizon Communications Inc. has averaged a single-session post-earnings move of 1.2% over the past eight quarters -- five of which have been to the downside. This time around, the equity's weekly 1/22 at-the-money (ATM) straddle is pricing in a bigger 2.6% post-earnings swing.

  • Option traders are much more optimistic about TRV's post-earnings trajectory, per the stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 3.06 -- in the 91st percentile of its annual range. Those purchasing near-term options are willing to pay a pretty penny, considering the equity's 30-day ATM implied volatility of 26.7% rests higher than 99% of all similar readings taken in the last year.

    Over the past eight quarters, Travelers Companies Inc has averaged a 2.3% swing in the session subsequent to reporting -- much less than the 6.9% the equity's near-term ATM straddle is pricing in for this report -- and has enjoyed a positive earnings reaction five times. In the lead up to the results, shares of Travelers Companies Inc are down 2.4% at $103.23, extending their year-to-date decline to 8.5%.

  • Similar to several of its sector peers, LUV is down 1.7% at $38.94. Since topping out at a record high of $51.34 on Dec. 7, the shares have surrendered over 24% -- and are in danger of closing south of their 80-week moving average for the first time since July. Against this backdrop -- and unlike the brokerage bunch -- speculative players have been lining up on the bearish side of the aisle, as evidenced by Southwest Airlines Co's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 0.97, in the 100th percentile of its annual range. The stock has made some notable post-earnings moves over the past eight quarters -- including an 8.4% pop one year ago -- averaging a 3.4% swing. Based on LUV's weekly 1/22 ATM straddle, meanwhile, the options market is expecting a bigger move of 5.3% by week's end.


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