Nokia Stock Defies Skeptics as Rally Continues

Options traders have been put-heavy on NOK in recent weeks

Managing Editor
Feb 2, 2018 at 9:56 AM
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Mobile network firm Nokia Oyj (NYSE:NOK) is moving higher again today, just one session after reporting stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and a positive outlook for 2018. The tech stock has garnered a slew of positive analyst attention today, including an upgrade to "buy" from "neutral" at MKM Partners and five price-target raises. MKM's target hike, to $7.50 from $5.50, represents the loftiest new forecast for NOK shares.

At last check, NOK is up 2.1% at $5.51 in early trading. This comes on the heels of yesterday's bull gap, which saw the stock rally 12.3% by the close, and break out above its 80-day moving average for the first time since October. NOK is now up 18.2% on the year.

If the equity's breakout can carry NOK above the looming resistance of its 160-day moving average, more bullish notes could be in store. Analysts following the stock have a generally skeptical attitude, with six out of eight carrying a "hold" or "sell" recommendation.

Echoing this, sentiment in the options pits has been anything but optimistic. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows NOK stock with a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.26, ranking in the 76th percentile of its annual range. This suggests puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks.

Likewise, Nokia's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.85 ranks in the 90th percentile of its annual range. In other words, near-term options traders are unusually put-heavy on the rallying telecom concern. 

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