Zillow Group, Inc. (Z) Buyout Buzz Excites Call Buyers

Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ:Z) is muscling higher on buyout buzz

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jun 19, 2015 at 3:14 PM

Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ:Z) is sharply higher this afternoon, amid unconfirmed rumors the real estate company may be a buyout target. Among the potential suitors are Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and possibly even Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) -- following glowing comments from Z CEO Spencer Rascoff. This is likely welcome news for recent call buyers -- of which there have been many.

Specifically, during the last two weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), Z has racked up a call/put volume ratio of 2.36. Not only does this reading indicate more than two calls have been bought to open for every put, it also ranks higher than nine-tenths of comparable metrics from the past year.

Not everyone is so convinced about Z's prospects. For one, over 36% of the stock's float is sold short -- representing more than 12 sessions' worth of trading activity, at typical volumes. In fact, it's possible some of today's call buyers -- especially those initiating positions at out-of-the-money strikes -- may be short sellers attempting to hedge their bets. For another, 80% of covering analysts consider the shares worthy of a tepid "hold" rating.

From a technical perspective, this skepticism seems justifiable. Despite Zillow Group Inc's (NASDAQ:Z) 4.1% rally this afternoon to trade at $90.52, the shares have plunged 45% since hitting an all-time high of $164.90 last July. What's more, today's gains are being contained by Z's descending 32-day moving average.

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