Trendline Bounce Could Scare Off Netflix Skeptics

From a contrarian perspective, Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) stock has a bullish setup

Mar 9, 2017 at 11:01 AM
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Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) has been consolidating atop its 40-day moving average for the past few sessions, after touching a record high near $146 in mid-February. If history is any indicator, this trendline could once again prove to be a boon for the stock. Not to mention, pessimism toward NFLX shares among options traders, short sellers, and analysts could translate into contrarian tailwinds.

Diving into the technicals, the 40-day moving average has historically served as support for Netflix, according to data from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. The stock has touched it nine times in the last three years, and on two-thirds of those occasions, posted a positive return in the ensuing month. Specifically, the shares have gained 2.8%, on average, 21 sessions after the signal. With NFLX 0.3% higher at $140.79, a repeat performance would have the stock back near uncharted territory.

As mentioned previously, an unwinding of negative sentiment could bolster the shares, as well. For starters, during the past two weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have bought to open slightly more puts than calls. NFLX's resulting put/call volume ratio of 1.07 ranks in the bearishly skewed 93rd percentile of its annual range.

Echoing this, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.02 outstrips 82% of all readings from the past 12 months. While put players could be shareholders hedging paper profits against potential losses, a capitulation among "vanilla" bears could add fuel to Netflix's longer-term fire.

Beyond the options arena, short sellers have expressed their doubts toward NFLX stock. Nearly 24 million shares are sold short, which would take almost a week to cover, at the stock's average trading rate -- suggesting there's plenty of pent-up buying power on the sidelines.

Last but not least, a trendline bounce could force skeptical analysts to rethink their opinions. While a majority of brokerage firms consider Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) a "buy" or better, a dozen still designate the stock a "hold" or worse, leaving plenty of room for upgrades.

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