Yelp Inc (YELP) Takes Out Key Technical Level on Needham Note

Yelp Inc (YELP) is now in positive year-to-date territory, thanks to a bullish brokerage note

Alex Eppstein
Jun 23, 2016 at 10:20 AM
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Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) is up 2.4% out of the gate at $28.97, after Needham bumped its price target by $6 to $34. Following an investor meeting with YELP CFO Lanny Baker, the brokerage firm noted, "we are encouraged by management's increased attention to account management and focus on national advertisers." Needham also said the social media company's new products, like Request a Quote and Eat24, "should enhance its value over time." This dose of optimism is a rare thing for the stock, in the options pits and beyond.

Starting with the options crowd, YELP's 10-day put/call volume ratio at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) is 0.71. Also, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) is 0.76. While both ratios are call-skewed on an absolute basis, they rank in their respective 80th and 96th annual percentiles -- suggesting a pronounced bias toward puts, relatively speaking.

The skepticism doesn't stop there. Despite Needham's enthusiasm, the fact of the matter is 19 of 25 analysts consider the shares a "hold" or worse. What's more, the consensus 12-month price target of $28.86 rests south of YELP's current perch. Short positions have also accumulated on the stock. Despite falling 11.4% in the most recent reporting period, short interest still makes up nearly 16% of the equity's float, or nearly a week's worth of pent-up buying power, at YELP's average trading volume.

Based on the extreme pessimism seen across Wall Street, you'd never know that Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) has been red hot over the past few months. In fact, the social media stock has nearly doubled in value since hitting a three-year low of $14.53 in early February, and is now on pace to close a session in positive year-to-date territory for the first time in 2016. Keeping that in mind, it's possible some of the recent put buyers are shareholders using options to protect paper profits.

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