Why This Healthcare Stock's Pullback May Be Short-Lived

Options bulls are already betting on CNC's comeback

Digital Content Manager
Mar 28, 2022 at 2:36 PM
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Centene Corp (NYSE:CNC) stock is down 0.4% to trade $85.29 at last check, just one week removed from a March 21, record high of $88.61. CNC boasts a 31.7% year-over-year lead, but has shed 1.6% in the last five trading days. There is also reason to believe the stock could soon pare some of these losses though, if past is precedent, as CNC pulls back to a historically bullish trendline.

Digging deeper, Centene stock just came within one standard deviation of its 40-day moving average. According to data from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White, comparable moves have occurred four times over the past three years, with the security enjoying a positive one-month return 50% of the time, while averaging a 1.7% pop. A similar move from its current perch would put CNC just shy of those record levels once more.

CNC 40 Day

The options pits are already betting on Centene stock's comeback. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), CNC's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 9.30 sits higher than 98% of readings from the past year. This indicates long calls have been getting picked up at much faster-than-usual clip.

Echoing this, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call volume ratio of 0.36 sits higher than just 8% of other annual readings. This implies short-term options traders have rarely been more call-biased during the past year. 

These options traders are in luck, as now appears to be an ideal time to bet on the stock's next move with options. This is per CNC's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 41%, which sits in the relatively low 27th percentile of its 12-month range, suggesting options traders are pricing in relatively low volatility expectations for the security at the moment. 

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