Eli Lilly and Co (LLY) Earnings Fail to Reward Bullish Options Traders

Eli Lilly and Co (LLY) options traders have been extremely optimistic of late

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Apr 26, 2016 at 10:33 AM

Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY) is down this morning, after the drugmaker's earnings came up short of the Street's consensus estimate. However, better-than-expected revenue and an upwardly revised full-year outlook appear to be limiting the damage, with LLY last seen off 1.3% at $76.97. If options traders had their druthers, though, the pharmaceutical stock would be sitting higher.

To put it simply, LLY's options pits have been brimming with positivity. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have bought to open 6.24 calls for each put during the last two weeks. The corresponding call/put volume ratio sits just 7 percentage points from an annual high.

Underscoring this call bias is LLY's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.54. Not only does this indicate calls nearly double puts among options in the front three-months' series, it also outstrips just 13% of comparable readings taken in the past year.

It's more of the same among analysts. Of the 14 brokerages tracking LLY, nine have handed out a "strong buy" endorsement, compared to four "holds" and just one "strong sell" opinion. If that's not enough, the stock's consensus 12-month price target of $94.18 represents a roughly 22% premium to current trading levels.

Although Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY) is down this morning, the pharmaceutical stock has been fighting back since its mid-March annual low of $67.88, up 13%. Meanwhile, the drugmaker's animal health unit is making waves this morning after inking a deal with Aratana Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:PETX).

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