Short Sellers Still Not Sold on Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ)

Short interest on Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) ballooned during the most recent reporting period

by Alex Eppstein

Published on May 25, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Sentiment toward alternative energy stock Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ) is pulling in two different directions. On the one hand, short interest on the solar stock exploded during the latest reporting period. On the other, optimism is running high among options traders and analysts alike. Below, we'll take a closer look at CSIQ's story.

As alluded to, short interest on the solar stock made a monumental upside move during the most recent two-week reporting period -- one of the 30 biggest increases among all of the stocks we monitor, in fact. Specifically, these bearish bets spiked 53.9%, and now account for almost 17% of CSIQ's total float. That said, at the stock's average trading volume, it would take fewer than three days to cover these positions.

Meanwhile, call buying has been transpiring at a rapid-fire rate, after an earnings beat sparked gains in recent weeks -- including today's 1.7% advance. Across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), options traders have bought to open 4.91 CSIQ calls for every put during the last 10 sessions. The corresponding call/put volume ratio outstrips 85% of all other readings from the past year. Underscoring this call bias is CSIQ's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.36, which ranks in the low 4th annual percentile.

Optimism is even more extreme among the brokerage crowd. In fact, all eight analysts tracking CSIQ stock consider it worthy of a "strong buy" endorsement. What's more, the consensus 12-month price target of $30.34 represents an almost 56% premium to the solar stock's current price at $19.49 -- and territory not charted since last June.

Speaking of charts, Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ) remains a long-term embarrassment, despite its recent rebound. On a year-over-year basis, the shares have surrendered 41.5% of their value. Considering these technical troubles, it wouldn't at all be surprising if the recent rush in call buying came at the hands of short sellers seeking to hedge against an extended surge in the solar stock.

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