Fitbit Call Buying Hot Ahead of Quarterly Report

FIT shares are hovering just above their YTD breakeven point

Managing Editor
Jul 31, 2018 at 11:28 AM
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Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) is up 2.5% at $5.82 in afternoon trading, as investors await the tech company's impending earnings report, which is slated for tomorrow, Aug. 1, after the market closes. Below we will take a look at what the options market is pricing in for Fitbit's second-quarter report, and how the stock has been faring on the charts of late. 

Looking at its technical performance, FIT has been on a downtrend since its mid-June peak near $7.80, only just last week halting its sell-off after running into a foothold of support at the 120-day moving average. As it stands now, the equity is holding slightly above its year-to-date breakeven level, after bottoming right at this key price point in yesterday's trading.

Daily Chart of FIT with 120MA

Digging into the stock's earnings history, FIT has closed lower the day after the company reports in three of the last four quarters, including a 12% decline in May and a 12.3% drop in February. Looking back eight quarters, the shares have moved 13.3% the day after earnings on average, regardless of direction. This time around, however, the options market is pricing in a whopping 21.5% move for Thursday's trading.

In the options pits, Fitbit stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) comes in at 7.06, ranking in the 82nd percentile of its annual range. This lofty ratio indicates that calls have been overwhelmingly preferred over puts during the past two weeks of trading.

Looking closer, much of this buy-to-open activity took place at the front-month August 7 and 8 calls, while traders with shorter time frames bought the weekly 8/3 6- and 6.50-strike calls. While this would seem to suggest many are speculating on a breakout for the equity, the heavy call buying could be connected to FIT's elevated short interest levels.

Specifically, short interest surged more than 30% during the past two reporting periods, and currently represents 18.2% of the stock's total available float. At Fitbit's average daily trading volume, it would take almost exactly two weeks for shorts to cover their bearish bets. As such, some shorts may be hedging with calls options.

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