Analysts, Options Traders Upbeat Toward Post-Conduent Xerox Corp (XRX)

Shares of Xerox Corp (NYSE:XRX) are soaring, after the business support firm successfully completed its spinoff of Conduent

Jan 3, 2017 at 10:29 AM
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Shares of Xerox Corp (NYSE:XRX) have jumped 14.2% to trade at $6.57, after the company said it has successfully completed the spinoff of Conduent, which will now trade under the ticker "CNDT" on the New York Stock Exchange. The separation of XRX and Conduent -- which guarantees the former a cash transfer of $1.8 billion -- has the stock in the bullish limelight of analysts, as well. And while intraday options volume has yet to take off on XRX in the first trading day of 2017, most speculative players have been betting on a strong start to the new year.

Taking a quick look at this morning's bullish analyst notes, J.P. Morgan Securities raised its rating on XRX stock to "outperform" from "neutral" and its price target to $10.50 from $10.00. The brokerage firm specifically said the spinoff of Conduent "marks the start of a long turnaround process" for Xerox. Elsewhere, Credit Suisse boosted its rating to "outperform" from "neutral" -- while also lowering its price target by $2 to $8 -- saying it is "taking into account a more focused print business, potential upside to cost savings, strong management and a well laid out long-term strategy to offset end market decline."

Options traders, meanwhile, had already taken a glass-half-full approach to XRX in recent weeks. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), speculators have bought to open 5,098 calls on XRX in the last 10 sessions, compared to 898 puts.

Seeing the biggest rise in open interest over this time frame was XRX's January 2009 9-strike call, with 4,694 contracts added. According to the major options exchanges, the majority of this action was of the buy-to-open kind, meaning traders are betting on a breakout north of $9 by front-month options expiration at the close on Friday, Jan. 20. As a point of reference, the last time XRX traded north of $9 was in the first quarter of 2015.

Looking at the charts, today's positive price action runs counter to XRX's recent trajectory. Based on last Friday's close at $5.75, the shares had surrendered more than 15% from their late-September high near $6.80. In fact, the $6.80 level -- which corresponds to a 61.8% Fibonacci retracement of the stock's 2016 high and low -- contained any breakout attempts in the latter half of the year. And while the stock's 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) closed out 2016 at 31 -- near oversold territory, suggesting a short-term bounce may be in the cards -- historical headwinds could keep Xerox Corp's (NYSE:XRX) Conduent-inspired gains in check.

XRX daily since january 2016

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