C-Suite Shift Keeps Swift Transportation Co (SWFT) Bears On Edge

Swift Transportation Co (NYSE:SWFT) founder and CEO Jerry Moyes will retire at the end of the year

by Karee Venema

Published on Sep 9, 2016 at 10:37 AM

Swift Transportation Co (NYSE:SWFT) is up 2.8% at $20.28 -- and fresh off a new annual high of $20.92 -- after the trucking company said founder and CEO Jerry Moyes will retire. Moyes will serve as co-CEO with Swift's current chief operating officer, Richard Stocking, through the end of the year, at which point, Stocking will take over the role. Today's positive price action just extends SWFT stock's recent momentum -- and, while options volume is low on an absolute basis, today's action could have another set of traders on edge.

Specifically, since bottoming at a three-year low of $11.74 in late January, shares of SWFT have surged nearly 72%. Plus, today's pop has the stock breaking out above $19.90-$20.00 -- a neighborhood that has resisted a number of SWFT's recent rally attempts.

Short sellers, however, have been quick to bet against SWFT. Short interest edged up 2% in the most recent reporting period, and now accounts for a whopping 29.8% of the stock's available float. At the equity's average daily pace of trading, it would take almost three weeks to cover these bearish bets. Should SWFT maintain its upward momentum, there's ample sideline cash available to help fuel the fire.

Elsewhere on Wall Street, analysts are mostly upbeat toward Swift Transportation Co (NYSE:SWFT). Of the 15 brokerages covering the trucking stock, 10 maintain a "buy" or better rating. However, considering the security's average 12-month price target stands at a slim 6% premium to current trading levels, a round of price-target hikes could translate into a fresh burst of buying power.

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