2 Tech Stocks That Could Struggle Soon

LRCX and GRMN tend to retreat ahead of Good Friday

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Mar 21, 2018 at 1:26 PM

It's been a rough week so far for many tech stocks, with a decline in Facebook (FB) shares weighing on the sector. In fact, the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK) gapped lower to start the week, and is now trying to avoid a fourth straight loss. What's more, a pair of tech stocks could be poised to dip again next week, if recent history is any indicator: semiconductor concern Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ:LRCX) and GPS maker Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN).

LRCX Stock Tends to Struggle Before Easter

Lam Research stock also gapped lower on Monday, but today has since erased those losses. LRCX stock was last seen 2.7% higher at $225.03, back within striking distance of its March 13 all-time high of $234.88.

However, the equity could give back some of those gains during the holiday-shortened week leading up to Good Friday. Over the past 10 years, LRCX shares have ended the week before Easter higher just 30% of the time, according to Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. Further, the stock has averaged a loss of 1.55% that week -- the third-biggest of all S&P 500 Index (SPX) components.

Nevertheless, a similar dip next week would be just a blip in LRCX's long-term uptrend. The shares have rallied more than 81% over the past year, and have surged a whopping 43% since their Feb. 9 low, after the broad-market correction.

Whether bullish or bearish, the good news is Lam Research stock has consistently rewarded near-term options buyers in the past year. The chipmaker's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) stands at 95 out of 100, indicating LRCX shares have handily exceeded options traders' volatility expectations in the past 12 months.

GRMN Options Traders Up the Bearish Ante

Garmin stock has struggled since a post-earnings bear gap on Feb. 21 -- a day after notching a nearly 10-year high of $65.96 -- with rebound attempts capped by its 20-day moving average. Today, the shares are fractionally higher to trade at $60.02.

Over the past 10 years, the week before Easter hasn't been kind to GRMN stock. The equity has ended the week higher just 30% of the time, averaging a loss of 0.98%. Nevertheless, any pullbacks could be contained in the $58 region, which has acted as a floor for the security since November.

Short sellers and options traders have been upping the bearish ante on GRMN. Short interest represents more than 10% of the stock's total available float, and while absolute options volume runs light, the GPS maker's 10-day put/call volume ratio on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) stands at 1.47 -- in the 87th percentile of its annual range.

Near-term options traders can pick up Garmin contracts for a relative steal, too. The equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 19% is in just the 18th percentile of its annual range, suggesting short-term options are pricing in relatively muted volatility expectations for GRMN stock.

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