Toll Brothers Profit Miss Sends Sector Peers Spiraling

Most analysts remain bullish on Lennar, though

Managing Editor
May 22, 2018 at 10:15 AM
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Homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc (NYSE:TOL) is an early loser today, down 7.5% to trade at $40.36, after the company reported fiscal second-quarter earnings below analyst expectations. The disappointing results are also hitting sector peers KB Home (NYSE:KBH) and Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN), which are both trading sharply lower today.

Puts Popular on KBH Stock

At last check, KB Home stock is down 3.6% to trade at $25.65. Since touching a 10-year high of $38.80 on Jan. 11, the shares have been in a steady downtrend, giving back 32%, guided lower by their descending 50-day moving average. 

In the options pits, put buying has been unusually popular in recent weeks. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows the security's 10-day put/call volume ratio at 1.21, ranking in the elevated 87th percentile of its annual range. This shows puts have been bought over calls at a much faster-than-usual clip during the past 10 days.

Meanwhile, the stock has consistently rewarded premium buyers over the past year. Specifically, its Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) reading is docked at an elevated 87 out of a possible 100, meaning KBH has tended to make bigger moves over the last 12 months than what the options market was expecting.

Lennar Stock Vulnerable To Downgrades

Lennar stock is down 1.8% to trade at $51.35. Similar to KB Homes, LEN scored a record high of $72.17 in late January, but has struggled since. The equity has shed 17% in 2018, and is currently mired in a three-week losing streak. 

Analysts remain committed to the security. Of the 16 brokerages covering LEN, 13 rate it a "strong buy," with not a single "sell" on the books. Furthermore, LEN's average 12-month price target of $77.16 sits at a 50% premium to the stock's current perch. A round of downgrades and/or price-target cuts could send LEN lower. 

For the most part, premium buyers have preferred calls over puts. Based on ISE/CBOE/PHLX data, Lennar sports a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.88, showing call buying has nearly doubled put buying. What's more, those purchasing premium on Lennar are in luck. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 30% ranks in just the 23rd annual percentile, suggesting short-term options have rarely been cheaper, from a volatility standpoint.

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