Visa Inc, Target Corporation Settle -- But Will the Stocks Rally?

Visa Inc (V) and Target Corporation (TGT) have reached a $67 million settlement on a 2013 data breach

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Aug 18, 2015 at 3:09 PM

Visa Inc (NYSE:V) has reportedly agreed to pay Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) as much as $67 million for a 2013 data breach at the retailer. Amid the settlement news, V shares have barely budged -- at $74.37 -- while TGT is up 0.7% at $79.49.

Longer term, the stocks have told a much more bullish story -- and that's not lost on option traders. For one, V has advanced more than 38% year-over-year, and is a chip-shot from its record high of $76.92 from late July. As such, over the past 10 days at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have bought to open 2.43 calls for every put -- a ratio that ranks in the 82nd percentile of its annual range.

Meanwhile, TGT has rallied 34% over the previous 52 weeks, and looks poised to bounce from its 10-month moving average. The stock's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio is 2.99, with long calls nearly tripling puts. What's more, this ratio outstrips all but 16% of comparable readings taken in the last year.

But not everyone's taken a glass-half-full approach -- especially outside of the options pits. For instance, nearly 67 million Visa Inc (NYSE:V) shares are sold short, representing almost seven days of pent-up buying activity, given typical volumes. In other words, the stock could be on the verge of a short-covering rally.

Similarly, 60% of analysts tracking Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) rate it a "hold" or worse. If the stock can break out -- perhaps as soon as tomorrow, following the company's morning earnings report -- a round of upgrades could be in the cards.

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