Should Investors Buy Appian Stock Ahead of Earnings?

Year-over-year, APPN has shed more than 74%

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Appian Corp (NASDAQ:APPN) is down roughly 1% to trade at $56.04 at last check, likely due to some broader-market headwinds. The software name is just under one week away from its fourth-quarter earnings report, which is due out after the close on Thursday, Feb. 17. Below, we will dive into APPN's technical setup, and some of its previous post-earnings activity.

On the charts, the security has been stuck between a floor around the $50 level and a ceiling at the $60 mark over the last couple of weeks. The shares hit a Jan. 24, all-time low of $46.85, and haven't closed above the 40-day moving average since November. Year-over-year, APPN has shed 74.4%. 

APPN 40 Day

The equity has a history of disappointing post-earnings reactions, finishing six of eight next-day sessions lower in the past two years, including a 22.4% dip in February 2020. Options traders are pricing in a 15.9% swing for APPN this time around, which is much higher than the 10.8% move it averaged following its last eight reports, regardless of direction.

Bears are still firmly in control, despite short sellers hitting the exits. Short interest fell 13.1% over the most recent reporting period, yet the 4.63 million shares sold short still make up 12% of the stock's available float, or more than seven days' worth of pent-up buying power.

The options pits echo that pessimism. Over at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock sports a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 5.89, which sits in the 99th percentile of its 12-month range. In other words, puts have been picked up at a much quicker-than-usual clip. 

The company has grown revenues 13.6% since 2020 and 52.6% since 2018. However, Appian's net income has decreased by nearly $36 million since 2020, having generated $69 million in net losses over the past 12 months.

From a fundamental point of view, Appian stock’s valuation is still far too high for its current growth rate. APPN trades at price-sales ratio of 10.60, which is a rich value for a company growing revenues by less than 20% annually. Overall, Appian stock offers little upside, with a great risk of continuing its bearish run as it settles into a more appropriate valuation.


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