Vindicated Hain Celestial Group Inc (HAIN) Sees Stock Soar

An accounting audit cleared Hain Celestial Group Inc (HAIN) of wrongdoing

Alex Eppstein
Nov 17, 2016 at 11:53 AM
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Hain Celestial Group Inc (NASDAQ:HAIN) is going gangbusters today, after an audit committee review found no evidence of intentional wrongdoing in the organic food marketer's financial reporting. Adding to the enthusiasm, Jefferies reiterated a "buy" rating and a $50 price target, explaining that Nielsen data indicates the company's sales growth deceleration is likely transitory.

At last check, HAIN stock is 9.6% higher at $39.27. While these gains are impressive -- representing the largest intraday percentage lead in four months -- the shares remain well below their August highs near $57, touched just before a major bearish gap, which was triggered by the aforementioned accounting issues.

Amid these fundamental and technical developments, HAIN options are flying off the shelves, trading at eight times the expected intraday rate. As usual, calls are outstripping puts. In fact, call options account for eight of the 10 most active Hain Celestial strikes.

In recent months, calls have been the options of choice, too. Specifically, the stock has racked up a 50-day call/put volume ratio of 7.32 across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Not only does this ratio indicate calls have been bought to open at more than seven times the rate of puts, it also ranks 4 percentage points from an annual high. In other words, calls have rarely been more popular among option buyers in the last 12 months.

Reinforcing this call bias is HAIN's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.24. Based on this SOIR, calls quadruple puts when looking at open interest in the front three months' series. What's more, this ratio is lower than all but 11% of readings taken in the prior year.

Turning elsewhere, though, it's clear not everyone is sold on Hain Celestial Group Inc (NASDAQ:HAIN). Nine of 14 analysts rate the stock a "hold" or worse, while 9.5% of its total float is sold short -- which would take over seven sessions to cover, at the equity's average trading rate. In fact, it's possible some recent call purchases came at the hands of short sellers hedging against an unforeseen breakout -- like the one we're witnessing today.

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