Staples, Inc. (SPLS) Moves Off Multi-Year Low After FTC Rejection

SPLS managed to move higher today, despite an FTC block on its bid for ODP

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Dec 21, 2015 at 3:15 PM

Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) is trading 0.5% higher at $9.35 today, despite news that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rejected the company's $5.5 billion bid to buy competitor Office Depot Inc (NASDAQ:ODP). The FTC sued SPLS earlier this month in an attempt to block the deal, arguing that the merger would curtail competition in the office supply market. 

SPLS has had a dreadful year, giving up nearly half of its value so far in 2015, and hitting a 13-year low of $9.03 last week. The shares have underperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by nearly 27 percentage points over the last three months, and Staples also has a 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) of 24 -- in oversold territory. Accordingly, 10 out of 12 analysts currently give the stock a "hold" or "sell" rating

Short interest on SPLS has fallen almost 12% over the last two reporting periods, but still makes up 4.5% of the stock's available float -- representing more than three times the equity's average daily trading volume.

Option traders have taken a generally bullish stance on SPLS. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 4.69 shows nearly five calls being bought to open for each put over the last couple weeks. This ratio arrives in the tepid 31st annual percentile -- suggesting the current skew toward SPLS calls over puts is relatively mild compared to the norm.

Likewise, Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) has a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.15, which ranks in the lowest annual percentile of readings. This means that, among options expiring in the next three months, calls are outnumbering puts by the widest margin of the past 12 months.

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