Snap Stock Pops After Amazon Exec Climbs On Board

The increased SNAP call buying could be a result of shorts hedging

by Patrick Martin

Published on May 8, 2018 at 10:35 AM
Updated on May 8, 2018 at 10:35 AM

Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP) stock is rallying this morning, up 4.6% to trade at $11.23. The boost comes after the company tapped former Amazon (AMZN) executive Tim Stone to replace Andrew Vollero as chief financial officer (CFO). Stone was a key member in coordinating the merger between Amazon and Whole Foods last year, the shift follows last week's dismal earnings report for the Snapchat parent. 

Analysts were quick to chime in, too. Wells Fargo reiterated its "market perform" rating on SNAP, and said it thinks CEO Evan Spiegel and Chief Strategy Officer Imran Kahn are the reason for the company's fundamental woes, not the CFO. Summit Insights, meanwhile, maintained its "sell" rating, and said "somebody had to take the blame for SNAP's missing numbers."

SNAP stock has shed 23% in 2018, and hit a record low of $10.51 last Thursday. At Monday's close, SNAP sported a 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) of 21-- landing firmly in oversold territory, suggesting today's bounce may have been in the cards. Regardless, SNAP is on track to break its five-day losing streak.

Despite its underwhelming price action, options traders have been been buying to open calls over puts at a faster-than-usual clip in recent weeks. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows the security with a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.68, ranking in the 74th percentile of its annual range.

This trend is continuing today, with 26,000 calls traded so far -- two times the expected intraday amount. New positions are possibly being purchased at the weekly 5/4 11.50-strike calls. While some traders could be betting on more upside for SNAP, part of this recent call buying could be at the hands of short sellers hedging against upside risk. Nearly 15% of the stock's float is currently sold short.


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