Nike Put Writers Benefit From Another Bull Note

The Credit Suisse note is the latest in a string of positive attention for NKE stock

Mar 13, 2018 at 10:00 AM
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Credit Suisse weighed in bullishly on athletic apparel stocks Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) and Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) after yesterday's close. The brokerage firm began coverage on NKE shares with an "outperform" designation and $78 price target, well above the security's Feb. 27 record high of $70.25. At last check, the blue chip was trading up 0.6% at $67.24, which is good news for a recent batch of options traders.

Specifically, the March 62.50 put saw the largest increase in open interest by far over the past two weeks, yet data from the major options exchanges hints at mostly sell-to-open activity here. As such, these speculators were hoping for Nike stock to hold above $62.50 through this Friday's close, when the contracts expire.

Today's pop brings NKE's year-to-date lead north of 7%, with the shares recently enjoying support from the 50- and 80-day moving averages. The majority of brokerage firms still have "hold" or worse ratings on the equity, however, so there's room for more upgrades to come through should the strong price action continue.

For LULU stock Credit Suisse also initiated coverage with an "outperform" rating and set a price target of $96. Shares of the yoga apparel specialist were up slightly at last check to trade at $80.40. The $80 level has been a stubborn layer of resistance in recent years, but the security has been consolidating atop the 50-day moving average for weeks, potentially setting itself up for a breakout.

Options data points to bullish sentiment, too, given the equity's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.92 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ. This shows call buying has almost tripled put buying during the past two weeks, and this ratio ranks higher than 82% of all others from the past year.

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