3 Auto Stocks Higher on China Tariff News

F, FCAU, and GM are all trading higher today

May 22, 2018 at 10:23 AM
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Car stocks are trading higher today on news China has agreed to cut import taxes on some vehicles to 15% from 25%, and on specific automobile parts to 6%, effective July 1. The move by Beijing comes following comments from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday that the two countries had made "very meaningful progress" in trade negotiations, and at last check, shares of automakers Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE:FCAU), and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) were all up in early trading.

Ford Motor Stock Rallies Into Familiar Resistance

Ford stock, for instance, has tacked on 1% to trade at $11.62, extending a recent rebound off its early March five-year low of $10.14. However, today's rally could run out of steam near the equity's 160-day and 200-day moving averages, which have kept a tight lid on F shares since a late-January bear gap. For the year, the security remains down 6%.

Options traders have been betting on a bigger bounce, though. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), Ford's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.80 ranks in the 73rd annual percentile. In other words, calls have been bought to open over puts at a quicker-than-usual clip.

Fiat Chrysler Stock Seems Overdue for Upgrades

Fiat Chrysler stock has jumped 2.3% to trade at $22.85. The shares have been trending higher for some time -- more than doubling in value year-over-year -- with a recent pullback from their mid-April highs finding a familiar foothold at their 60-day moving average. This trendline helped usher the shares higher from June through February, before switching to short-term resistance in March.

The outperforming auto stock could stand to benefit from a round of analyst upgrades. Although the average 12-month price target stands at a lofty $32.33 -- in record-high territory -- five of the seven brokerages covering the equity maintain a lukewarm "hold" recommendation.

General Motors Options are Cheap Right Now

General Motors stock is trading up 1% at $38.47, with the shares attempting their first close north of the 80-day moving average since late January. This trendline helped cushion pullbacks last August, but has more recently served as a ceiling. Just above here is the $39.50 level -- home to GM's early March bear-gap highs -- which contained the stock's mid-April breakout attempt.

GM options traders have been more bullish than usual, according to the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 4.96 on the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX -- in the elevated 88th annual percentile. Those purchasing premium on short-term options are getting a relatively good deal, too, considering the equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 22% ranks in the 21st annual percentile. In other words, low volatility expectations are being priced into near-term contracts.


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