Autodesk, Inc. (ADSK) is Putting the Heat on Short Sellers

Autodesk, Inc. (ADSK) appears to be verging on a short squeeze

Jan 23, 2017 at 10:44 AM
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Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK) is just a chip-shot from all-time-high territory. Specifically, at $80.95, the software stock is lingering near its record peak of $83.08, notched on Dec. 9. And while options traders and analysts have been bullish toward the outperforming shares, short sellers have been doubling down on ADSK -- which could end up translating into more tailwinds.

Diving into the data, the stock is well-loved by options players. During the last two weeks at the International Securities (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have bought to open 2.51 ADSK calls for every put. As a result, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at a low 0.46, with call open interest more than doubling put open interest among options with a shelf-life of three months or less.

Echoing this optimism is the brokerage community. In fact, two-thirds of covering analysts have handed out a "buy" or better recommendation. That said, it appears there's still room for potential price-target hikes. Autodesk has a consensus 12-month price target of $80.94, which is roughly in line with current trading levels.

Shifting to the short-selling crowd, we see a heavy accumulation of pessimism. Nearly 11 million ADSK shares are sold short, which would take more than a week to buy back, at the stock's average daily trading levels.

Even more interesting, these bearish bets have swelled nearly 40% since the U.S. presidential election, even as the shares have tacked 12%. This ability to muscle up the charts in the face of accelerated short selling hints at underlying strength in the stock. And an eventual capitulation among underwater short sellers could further bolster ADSK in its quest for higher highs.

For contrarians, this suggests it might be a good time to scoop up Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK) call options. Making this proposition potentially even more attractive is the fact that the stock's short-term strikes are pricing in historically low volatility expectations. Specifically, ADSK sports a Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 32%, near the bottom quartile of its annual range.

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