AutoZone, Inc. (AZO) Rebound Disappoints Option Bears

AutoZone, Inc. (AZO) has reversed course following its earnings release, and could explore more upside thanks to a key trendline

by Alex Eppstein

Published on May 24, 2016 at 10:06 AM
Updated on May 24, 2016 at 10:11 AM

AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) has quickly battled back from an early hole this morning to trade 0.2% higher at $743.40, following the auto parts retailer's fiscal third-quarter earnings report. As such, the stock has managed to cling to its slim year-to-date lead. While shareholders must be relieved with this show of technical strength, AZO options traders were likely hoping for extended losses. 

Option bears have been common in recent weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). In fact, traders have bought to open 1.56 AZO puts for every call -- a ratio that ranks in the high 93rd annual percentile. Underscoring this put bias, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.10 outstrips 70% of all other comparable readings from the past year.

Options traders are hardly the only ones skeptical of AZO. Of the 17 analysts tracking the shares, 11 have handed the stock a tepid "hold" rating. And while short interest has edged lower in recent reporting periods, 7.6% of AZO's float remains dedicated to short interest. At the stock's usual daily trading volume, it would take nearly 13 sessions to buy back these shorted shares.

Taking a closer look at the charts, AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) is currently perched just above its rising 320-day moving average, which acted as support in February -- eventually sending the shares to a record high of $810.00 on March 24. In other words, this trendline could help AZO move even higher in the near term.

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