Zscaler Stock Primed for Fresh Highs, Says Signal

ZS boasts cheap options to boot

Deputy Editor
Aug 11, 2020 at 2:42 PM
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Zscaler Inc (NASDAQ:ZS) is down 2.2% to trade at $119.66 today, taking a breath after an earnings-fueled rally sent the stock skyrocketing to an all-time high of $135.21 earlier this month. While ZS has been struggling to reclaim its previously supportive 10-day moving average during the past few sessions, its pullback put it right in line with a historically bullish trendline, which could mean fresh highs for the software stock. 

More specifically, ZS just came within one standard deviation of its 40-day moving average after a lengthy stretch above the trendline. For the purpose of this study, Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White defines that as the equity trading above the moving average for 60% of the time over the past two months, and closing north of the trendline in eight of the last 10 sessions.

According to White's data, five similar signals have occurred during the past three years. Zscaler stock was higher one month later after 80% of these signals, averaging a one-month return of 11.4%. A similar move from the security's current perch would put ZS just above its the aforementioned early-August peak to a new high of $133.30. 

ZS Chart August 11

Despite its impressive 157% year-to-date lead, there's plenty of pent-up pessimism in Zscaler's options pits. The stock sports a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.50 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which stands higher than 80% of readings from the past year. This implies a much healthier-than-usual appetite for long puts of late.

Furthermore, ZS' Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.22 stands higher than 92% of annual readings, meaning short-term options traders have rarely been more put-biased. 

And while short interest is dropping -- down 9.6% in the last reporting period -- the 7.62 million shares sold short still make up a healthy 10.7% of the equity's available float. Should these bears continue to hit exits, an unwinding of pessimism could put even more wind at the equity's back.

Those looking to bet on Zscaler stock's next move might want to consider options. In light of the post-earnings volatility crush, the equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 53% stands higher than just 15% of all other readings from the 12 months, implying that near-term option traders are attractively priced at the moment, from a historical volatility perspective.


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