Square Stock Gaps Higher on Instinet Bull Note

SQ stock has nearly tripled over the past 12 months

by Karee Venema

    Published on May 16, 2018 at 3:05 PM

    Square Inc (NYSE:SQ) is trading higher today, after an analyst at Instinet said Square Cash app growth is outpacing downloads for Paypal's (PYPL) Venmo. The analyst in coverage reiterated his "buy" rating and $65 price target -- a 15% premium to SQ stock's current perch at $56.51, up 3.4% on the day.

    Today's positive price action is just more of the same for Square stock, which has nearly tripled over the past 12 months. More recently, the shares have been bouncing higher atop their 80-day moving average since late December, with this trendline working as a springboard for SQ following a recent pullback from its March 21 record high of $58.46.

    sq stock daily chart may 16

    But unlike fellow bitcoin name Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) -- which, alongside Square, is a member of the newly launched blockchain exchange-traded fund REX BKCM ETF -- there's plenty of skepticism priced into shares of the payment processor. For starters, the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.55 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) ranks in the 91st annual percentile, indicating puts have been bought to open relative to calls at a quicker-than-usual clip.

    And although short interest declined 6.4% in the most recent reporting period, there are still 33.63 million SQ shares dedicated to these pessimistic positions -- representing a healthy 12.7% of the stock's available float. A continued rise by Square could shake some of the weaker bearish hands loose, creating tailwinds for the shares.

    Plus, there's ample room for analysts to upwardly revise their ratings. Of the 29 brokerages covering Square stock, 12 maintain a "hold" or "strong sell" rating, while the average 12-month price target of $50.55 stands at a discount to the equity's current perch.

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