Earnings Preview: Applied Materials, Inc., Gap Inc, and Deere & Company

Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT), Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS), and Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) are gearing up to report earnings

May 19, 2016 at 2:10 PM
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It's near the tail end of earnings season, but there are still a handful of notable names still left to report. Tonight, for instance, chipmaker Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) and retailer Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS) are set to report, while farm equipment manufacturer Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) will unveil its quarterly earnings tomorrow morning. Here's a quick look at the pre-earnings options activity surrounding AMAT, GPS, and DE.

  • Short-term options traders are more call-skewed than usual toward AMAT, per the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.31 -- in the 27th annual percentile. Drilling down on the front-month series, which is due to expire at tomorrow's close, peak call open interest of 9,120 contracts is found at the May 20 strike. According to the major options exchanges, a healthy portion of these calls were bought to open, meaning traders expect the stock to settle north of $20 at tomorrow's close. At last check, the stock was down 0.2% at $19.88, cutting its year-to-date gain to 6.5%. Meanwhile, the options market is pricing in a single-session post-earnings swing of 6.7% for Applied Materials, Inc. -- more than the 3.9% the equity has averaged over the past eight quarters.

  • GPS will follow a long line of retailers into the earnings confessional, and while some have come out on topmost have fizzled in the wake of their respective results. Just two weeks ago, the shares plunged after Gap Inc offered up dreary guidance, and it looks as if pre-earnings options traders are expecting more of the same. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), for instance, GPS' 10-day put/call volume ratio of 7.30 rests above 89% of all comparable readings taken in the past year. Today, with puts crossing at two times the average intraday rate, options traders appear to be purchasing new positions at the May 17 strike. On the charts, GPS is up 0.6% at $17.19, rebounding after earlier matching yesterday's four-year low of $17.00.

  • Pre-earnings traders are piling into DE's options pits today, with the contracts crossing at two times the expected intraday pace. Calls and puts are running near parity on an absolute basis, and one of DE's most active options is the weekly 6/10 86-strike call, where it seems safe to assume new long positions are being initiated. More broadly speaking, short-term speculators have shown a clear preference for puts over calls, per DE's SOIR of 3.07 -- in the 77th annual percentile. Technically, Deere & Company has surged 17% since hitting a three-year low of $70.16 in late January to trade at $82.14 -- and appears to have found a solid layer of support atop its 200-day moving average, a trendline the stock reclaimed following a late-April bull gap.
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