Halliburton Put Options Pricey Ahead of Earnings

HAL options traders are pricing in a bigger-than-usual post-earnings move

Managing Editor
Oct 19, 2018 at 12:20 PM
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Oil name Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) is trading up 1.9% at $38.73 today, but the shares have been declining since their mid-May highs. Most recently, HAL touched a two-year low of $35.75 on Sept. 2.

More broadly, oil stocks are taking a hit this week on oversupply concerns and a sector-wide bear note out of J.P. Morgan Securities yesterday. Meanwhile, Halliburton is slated to report its third-quarter earnings before the market opens, Monday, Oct. 22, and here we'll dive into what the options market has priced in for the stock's post-earnings moves.

Daily Chart of HAL Since Jan 2018

Digging into its earnings history, HAL closed lower the day after reporting in six of the last eight quarters, including an 8.1% drop after its late-July report. Looking broader, the shares have averaged a 3.2% move the day after earnings over the last two years, regardless of direction. This time around, options traders are pricing in a larger-than-usual 5.1% swing for Monday's trading.

Digging deeper, short-term traders appear to be betting on a downside move for HAL. This is based on the stock's 30-day implied volatility skew of 8.1%, which ranks in the 80th annual percentile -- indicating puts are more expensive than usual relative to calls.

Lastly, the security's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) is 95 out of 100. This lofty ranking shows that HAL has a tendency to make larger-than-expected moves on the charts compared to what the options market has priced in over the past year.

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