The Trendline to Watch for Pepsi Stock Ahead of Earnings

PEP stock has not historically performed well after earnings

Sep 29, 2017 at 2:08 PM
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Snack and drink giant PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP) is scheduled to report earnings before the market opens next Wednesday, Oct. 4, and the stock is trading near a key level ahead of the event. Specifically, data from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White shows that PEP shares have pulled back within one standard deviation of their 320-day moving average, and going back three years, this type of "signal" has resulted in a positive one-month gain 75% of the time, with an average gain of almost 2%. 

On the one hand, such an upside move would be just more of the same for the equity. It's been grinding higher since the financial crisis, and hit a record high of $119.39 on Aug. 19. Moreover, the shares' current perch of $111.35 aligns with a 38.2% Fibonacci retracement of their 52-week low and high. It's also worth noting that the stock is nearly in oversold territory, with its 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) coming in at 32, so a short-term bounce could be in store regardless. 

At the same time, if PEP does run higher after earnings, it would be a change of pace from its historical post-earnings performances. The stock has moved lower in the session after earnings in five of the last eight quarters, including the last three. On average, the security has moved 0.7% after earnings, but this time around the options market is pricing in a much bigger expected swing of 2.2%. 

Speaking of options traders, peak open interest on Pepsi sits at the October 115 put, with the October 120 call close behind. Data from the major options exchanges shows mostly sell-to-open activity at both strikes, and considering both saw similar volume back on July 26, these contracts could have been used to initiate some type of bearish volatility strategy.  

Either way, analysts are remaining bullish. Of the 14 brokerage firms with coverage on the shares, 10 say to buy, with no "sell" ratings to be found. Plus, Pepsi stock's average 12-month price target stands up to $124.29, representing record-high territory. 

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