2 Retail Stocks Set to Storm Higher

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS) and Coach Inc (NYSE:COH) are two of the best stocks of 2016

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:29 PM
Updated on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:29 PM

When it comes to large-caps, retail stocks have been some of the top performers in 2016. Among this year's best stocks are handbag retailers Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS) and Coach Inc (NYSE:COH). Below, we'll take a closer look at how KORS and COH have fared on the charts, and how option traders have been betting on them.

To begin, KORS is down 2.1% today at $56.10, but has advanced 40% year-to-date. Also, it looks like the stock has found a foothold at its 80-week moving average, which is starting to flatten out after descending for the past year. From a relative-strength perspective, KORS has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 47 percentage points over the last 60 sessions.

That hasn't stopped option traders from betting bearishly. During the last 10 weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), KORS has amassed a put/call volume ratio of 1.17 -- just 10 percentage points from an annual peak. A look at the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) underscores this put-focus. At 1.10, KORS' SOIR ranks in the 98th percentile of its 52-week range. While a portion of these bearish speculators may be shareholders hedging against a pullback, a capitulation among "vanilla" bears could result in tailwinds.

Sentiment isn't much better among the brokerage bunch. Fifteen of 19 analysts rate Michael Kors Holding Ltd a tepid "hold," leaving the door wide open for future upgrades.

Turning to COH, option bears have been active here, too. The stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio is 1.94, with long puts nearly doubling calls. What's more, this ratio stands above 89% of all others recorded in the last 12 months. As with its retail rival, COH could stand to benefit from an unwinding of these bearish positions, assuming they're not protective in nature.

The stock has certainly turned up the heat on skeptics. In 2016, Coach Inc has sizzled to a nearly 19% year-to-date lead, last seen at $38.86. In fact, the shares are now on track to close their third consecutive week atop the 120-week trendline -- a feat that hasn't been accomplished since August-September 2012.

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