The Trendline That Could Send Nuance Communications Inc. (NUAN) Sliding

Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:NUAN) is trading near a historically bearish moving average

Jan 5, 2017 at 2:56 PM
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While the broader stock market surged in 2016, software specialist Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:NUAN) struggled mightily, losing one-fourth of its value. More recently, the shares have given back all of the gains from a mid-November post-earnings bull gap, with NUAN -- which was last seen trading at $15.20 -- pulling back to its 80-day moving average. However, this has not been a bullish indicator over the past three years, as NUAN has averaged a 21-day loss of 7.2% the last three times it's met this moving average, based on data from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. 

If NUAN shares do make a sharp move lower once again, it could result in an unwinding of optimism across Wall Street. For example, the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) comes in at 19.46, which tops 77% of the past year's readings. Plus, NUAN has a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.53, which means call open interest roughly doubles put open interest among options expiring within three months. Clearly, there's been a big appetite for call options. 

Analysts also have a mostly upbeat outlook on the shares. Currently, four brokerage firms rate NUAN a "strong buy," while the remaining four say it's just a "hold." Moreover, the stock boasts an average 12-month price target of $20.44, representing an expected move to levels the equity hasn't touched since last March. The door seems wide open for a round of bearish analyst attention. 

Also, NUAN's underwhelming performance has come despite an unwinding of short interest, which points to underlying weakness in the shares. By the numbers, short interest declined 19.5% in the most recent reporting period alone. Additional losses may embolden these bears to jump back on board, which could provide extra pressure on NUAN. 

It's worth noting that it seems to be an attractive time to purchase near-term Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:NUAN) options. This is according to the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 27%, which sits below 89% of the all other readings from the past year. Said differently, the options market is currently pricing in low volatility expectations for NUAN. 

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