Is Weight Watchers International, Inc. (WTW) Headed for a March Massacre?

Weight Watchers International, Inc. (WTW) has historically struggled in March

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Mar 1, 2016 at 2:43 PM

Yesterday, we took a look at 25 stocks that could soar in March, based on historical returns. Below, Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White offers up a chart showing the worst stocks to own in March during the last 10 years. Each stock qualified for the list by trading at least one million shares per day and/or weekly options, and costing at least $8 per share as of last Friday's close. Among the worst performers is one stock that's been in the news lately, Oprah favorite Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE:WTW).

160301worstmarchstocks

WTW got rocked late last month following a disappointing earnings report, losing 29% in a single session. While the shares are 2.1% higher today at $12.02, they're still a far cry from their mid-November annual high of $28.05, reached after Oprah Winfrey unveiled her stake in the weight-loss concern.

If past is prologue, more trouble could be ahead this month. During the past 10 years, WTW has finished March higher just twice. On average, the stock has lost 3.4% during the month, including an astounding 38.3% last March:

160301worstmarchstocks1

Nonetheless, it looks as if option traders are bullishly arrayed on WTW. During the past 10 days at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculators have bought to open over four calls for each put. The resultant call/put volume ratio of 4.23 ranks in the bullishly skewed 76th annual percentile.

It's likely that not all of these option traders are necessarily upbeat toward Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE:WTW), though. With short interest representing 64.4% of the stock's float, it's possible short sellers have been buying calls to hedge their downside bets. However, if WTW once again runs into headwinds this month, a capitulation among "vanilla" bulls could pressure them even lower.


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