GameStop Stock Higher Despite Negative Analyst Note

GME options traders have been increasingly call-heavy over the past two weeks

Managing Editor
Apr 3, 2018 at 10:03 AM
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Shares of GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) are trading higher, despite the video game retailer receiving a downgrade from Loop Capital to "hold" from "buy," as well as a significant price-target cut to $14 from $26. The brokerage firm cited a lack of positive catalysts ahead as the reasoning behind the downgrade and 46% target reduction. At last check, GME stock was up 0.2% at $12.85, though it earlier touched a new 12-year low of $12.60.

GameStop stock has shed roughly 42% year-over-year, ushered lower beneath its 20-week and 40-week moving averages. As such, it's not surprising to find most analysts are already bearish toward the stock -- especially after last week's negative earnings reaction -- with five of the seven following GME sporting "hold" or worse ratings.

In the options pits, however, sentiment has been leaning more bullish than usual, with data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) showing GME with a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.83, ranking in the 89th percentile of its annual range. This indicates that calls have been bought over puts at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks.

Echoing this, GameStop stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.37 is in just the 18th percentile of its annual range. This implies that while short-term puts are still more prevalent than calls, near-term options traders are more call-heavy than usual right now.

Short interest fell 12.3% during the past two reporting periods on GME, but still represents nearly 32% of the stock's total available float. As such, the recent call buying -- particularly at out-of-the-money strikes -- could be attributable to shorts seeking an options hedge in the event of a bounce.

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