Options Premiums Attractive on Red-Hot Auto Parts Stock

Almost all the names in our Automobiles and Parts sector are trading above the 80-day moving average

by Josh Selway

Published on Nov 13, 2019 at 1:29 PM

Every week, Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White sends out a table that breaks down a number of data points for every sector we cover, looking for places where sentiment doesn't line up with how names in the space have been performing -- in other words, another way contrarian traders can find potential opportunities. At the top of the report this time was the Automobiles and Parts sector.

Looking closer, White's data shows 95% of the 19 names in the space are trading above the 80-day moving averages, one of our favorite trendlines to monitor. Despite that technical strength, the percentage of analyst "buy" ratings for all these stocks in the group is just 45%, and the average Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) is a put-skewed 1.14, hinting at underlying skepticism in the space.

One name in particular from this sector that's been on fire is LKQ Corporation (NASDAQ:LKQ). Back in early September, the shares of the parts distributor spiked on news of a 5.2% stake from investment firm ValueAct Capital, and gapped higher again on Oct. 31 thanks to an earnings beat. The stock is now testing its 50% year-to-date return level, and was last seen trading at $35.35, while its 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) comes in at 68, just on the cusp of overbought territory.

While most analysts are already bullish on LKQ, the security does have a SOIR north of 1.00, showing put open interest outweighs call open interest among contracts expiring within three months. This reading ranks in the 85th annual percentile, so such a put-skew is rare. A move toward more traditional levels could result in upside for the stock.

And it's not only put traders who've been betting bearishly. Peak open interest is at the December 37.50 call where 7,781 contracts are open, though data shows mostly sell-to-open activity here. This means traders are seeing the $37.50 level as a potential roadblock in the coming weeks.

It would definitely seem like a good time to buy premium and not sell it on LKQ, since its Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 21% ranks in the bottom percentile of its annual range. To put it differently, volatility expectations are unusually low at the moment.


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