2 Media Stocks Moving on Earnings

Media stocks Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) and Time Inc (NYSE:TIME) are experiencing strong earnings reactions

by Josh Selway

Published on Aug 4, 2016 at 11:32 AM

Media stocks are in focus today, following a series of earnings releases. For instance, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) is selling off on a downbeat outlook, while Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) and Time Inc (NYSE:TIME) are also on the move following their quarterly reports. Below, we'll be taking a closer look at media stocks VIAB and TIME. 

VIAB was last seen 0.7% higher at $44.30, following stronger-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue. Amid the company's ongoing boardroom drama, the shares have been oscillating between $40 and $45 since late April. At current levels, VIAB is just above its flattening 200-day moving average, as well as its 2016 breakeven mark at $41.16. 

Meanwhile, most analysts on Wall Street are skeptical of VIAB. For example, the vast majority of those covering the stock have issued "hold" or worse recommendations. Additionally, upside expectations are rather limited, considering the stock's average 12-month price target is only $48.27, not far from current levels. 

Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) also sports relatively elevated short interest. While only 4.5% of VIAB's float is sold short, it would take short sellers more than four days to cover their positions, going by the stock's average daily trading volumes. 

Turning to TIME, the shares have lost 5.4% at $14.80, bringing their 12-month deficit to 31.5%. This comes after the media company posted mixed second-quarter numbers. The stock is now on pace to close below its previously supportive 20-week moving average for the first time since mid-May. 

As for analysts' opinions on TIME, half of those tracking the stock say it's a "strong buy," and the other half have issued tepid "hold" ratings. The stock's average 12-month price target comes in at $18.50, territory not seen since last November. In other words, there's potential for bearish attention from this bunch -- in the way of downgrades and/or price-target cuts -- to drive TIME even lower. 

Time Inc (NYSE:TIME) is also heavily shorted. Going by the equity's normal trading pace, it would take short sellers eight sessions to cover their positions. And, for what it's worth, pessimism is also rampant in the stock's options pits -- though volume is low on an absolute basis. Specifically, TIME's Schaeffer's put/call volume ratio (SOIR) of 2.67 indicates put open interest nearly triples call open interest among options set to expire within three months. In addition, this ratio ranks in the high 81st annual percentile. 

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