Red-Hot Bank Stock Scores Record High Ahead of Earnings

Ally Financial will report earnings before the open on Friday, Jan. 22

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Consumer lending and bank stock Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE:ALLY) is fresh off a Jan. 13 record high of $41.99. This comes a day after Ally announced a common stock repurchase plan of up to $1.6 billion in 2021. In the company’s press release, Ally Financial stated that it would begin repurchasing shares during the first quarter of this year. ALLY won't fade from the spotlight, either, with the financial giant set to report earnings before the open on Friday, Jan. 22.

Ally Financial stock outperformed expectations on three of past four earnings reports. For the fourth quarter of 2019, ALLY beat expectations by a margin of $0.02 and reported an earnings per share (EPS) of $0.95. For the first quarter of 2020, ALLY significantly missed Wall Street's earnings expectations by a margin of $1.14. Ally Financial reported a major earnings comeback for the second quarter of 2020, reporting an EPS of $0.61 and beat expectations by a margin of $0.33. Finally, in the most recently reported quarter, Ally Financial reported earnings of $1.25 per share, beating analysts' expectation by a margin of $0.57. For its upcoming earnings report due out next week, ALLY is anticipated to report an EPS of $1.03.

ALLY declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.19 per share of the company's common stock, payable on Feb. 12, to stockholders of record on Feb. 1. Ally Financial also has a forward dividend of $0.76 and a forward dividend yield of 2.03%. The company has paid dividends to stockholders since 2016.

ALLY has almost quadrupled since its March 18 record bottom near $10. It's been quite the V-shaped rally for the stock since then, with the channel of higher highs guided higher by its ascending 40-day moving average. Year-over-year, the equity is up 30%. 

Even with earnings looming, it's a prime time to buy premium on the ALLY's near-term options. The security's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 42% ranks in the 13th annual percentile, meaning short-term options are relatively cheap, from a historical volatility perspective. What's more, Ally stock has been a strong performer for premium buyers over the past year, based on its Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) of 96 out of 100. In other words, ALLY has shown a tendency to make bigger-than-expected moves during the past 12 months, relative to what its options have priced in.

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