Blue Apron Stock Hits New Low Ahead of Earnings Report

APRN got crushed after its first earnings release

Nov 1, 2017 at 2:54 PM
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Shares of meal supplier Blue Apron Holdings Inc (NYSE:APRN) have struggled since the company's late-June initial public offering (IPO), just today hitting a record low of $4.62, and last seen at $4.66. For comparison's sake, the highest point ever reached by APRN stock was $11 on its first day of trading. A solid portion of these losses came in reaction to the company's lone earnings release back in August, and with Blue Apron set to release third-quarter earnings before the open on Thursday, many investors are expecting even more downside.

Over the past month, short interest on the security has risen quickly, with these bearish bets increasing by 30% in the last reporting period alone. In fact, almost half APRN's float is now tied up in short interest. If the company can impress with its quarterly results and push out some shorts, it could result in tailwinds for the stock.

Options traders are also taking a bearish approach. For instance, put buying has nearly doubled call buying during the past two weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) -- albeit amid relatively low absolute volume. Even in today's trading puts are popular. In the lead is the November 4.50 puts, where new positions are being added, with those buying to open the options betting on an even steeper move lower.

Of course, volatility expectations are higher than normal ahead of the quarterly event. This is evidenced by APRN's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 112%, which ranks in the 100th annual percentile -- suggesting short-term options premium is much more expensive than usual, relatively speaking.

Rounding out the sentiment front, analysts also share a skeptical outlook. Of the 13 brokerage firms with coverage on Blue Apron, just four say it's a "buy" or better. At the same time, the equity's consensus 12-month price target stands up at $6.71, which is a roughly 44% premium to current levels. As such, additional price-target cuts are still a real possibility.

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