Qualcomm Stock Swings to New Low After Earnings

Options traders have been call-heavy in recent weeks

Managing Editor
Apr 26, 2018 at 10:37 AM
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Shares of Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) started the session higher, but have since dropped 1% to trade at $49.21, and earlier hit a two-year low of $48.56. The stock is reacting to Qualcomm's earnings report, which showed fiscal second-quarter profit and revenue that were stronger than forecast -- easing concerns of a slowing demand for chips -- though the company also warned of a loss in ZTE orders and licensing revenue in the third quarter. QCOM was also hit with a round of price-target cuts, with Stifel setting the lowest target at $54. 

Today's negative price action is just more of the same for QCOM, though, which has shed 23% year-to-date. What's more, the stock is pacing for its seventh straight loss, which would be its longest daily losing streak since September 2015.

In the options pits, however, traders have been more bullish than usual in recent weeks. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 3.33 ranking in the 69h percentile of its annual range. This suggests that calls have been purchased over puts at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks.

Most of this action was centered at the May 52.50 call, where nearly 8,000 positions were bought to open over the past week. While some of this activity could be at the hands of "vanilla" call buyers, short interest on QCOM rose 32.6% in the past two reporting periods. In other words, shorts could have used these out-of-the-money calls to hedge against any post-earnings upside risk.

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