Lowe's Stock Jumps on Bullish UBS Outlook

Call buyers have targeted LEAPS strikes in recent weeks

Managing Editor
Apr 5, 2018 at 10:12 AM
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Shares of homebuilding retailer Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) are on the rise, after UBS put the stock on its "most preferred" list. An extensive amount of catalysts have been cited as the reason behind the firm's bullish outlook, including Lowe's impending change in CEO, and a good consumer spending environment, which is being supported by strengthening labor market and recent tax cuts. An analyst from the brokerage firm also noted that China tariffs are not likely to impact LOW, and that the sector is somewhat shielded from online competition.

On the charts, LOW pulled back sharply after touching a record high of $108.75 on Jan. 25 amid the stock market correction, but found a firm foothold atop its 200-day moving average -- a trendline that served as a magnet in the second half of last year. The shares are still up 15.4% in the past nine months, and at last check, Lowe's stock was trading 0.3% higher at $88.35.

In the options pits, data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows LOW with a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 13.79, ranking in the 97th percentile of its annual range. This indicates that calls have been bought over puts at a much faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks -- though it looks like most of this activity centered at LEAPS strikes, namely the January 2019 92.50- and 100-strike calls, and may be tied to stock.

However, Lowe's stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.09 ranks in the 100th percentile of its annual range, showing short-term traders are more put-heavy than usual. Peak open interest among near-term strikes is located at the April 72.50 put, and it looks like most of the positions were initiated last November when LOW was trading near $80.

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