Resolute Energy Corp (REN) Explodes on Upbeat Analyst Attention

Resolute Energy Corp (REN) is defying the skeptics, inside and outside of the options pits

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Sep 6, 2016 at 11:29 AM

Resolute Energy Corp (NYSE:REN) shows no signs of slowing down. The oil-and-gas stock is up 6.1% at $23.37 -- and is fresh off an annual high of $23.87 -- after receiving some extremely bullish analyst attention. As a result, bearish options traders and short sellers may be licking their wounds today.

As alluded to, REN is running higher on more upbeat attention on Wall Street. Specifically, Northland Capital nearly tripled its target price to $35 from $12. And why not? The shares have been shredding it on the charts since early July, when they were hovering just below $3.

Yet, options traders have been quick to place bearish bets. During the last 10 days at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculators have bought to open nearly four REN puts for each call. That said, a portion of these positions may have come at the hands of shareholders seeking a downside hedge in the event of an unexpected pullback.

While options traders may have an ulterior motive, the same can't be said for short sellers. Short interest exploded by 47.5% during the latest reporting period, and now accounts for 14.1% of Resolute Energy Corp's (NYSE:REN) total float. From a contrarian perspective, a rush to cover among these underwater bears could translate into even more gains -- and even higher highs -- for the energy stock.

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