Alphabet Stock Options Traders Bet on a Quick Pullback

Strong Google ad sales helped boost Alphabet's quarterly results

Jul 24, 2018 at 10:11 AM
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Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) kicked off a busy week of FAANG earnings after unveiling its results last night. The strong results and a round of bull notes has GOOGL stock trading up 4.6% at $1,266.88, and fresh off a record high of $1,275, with the shares now up nearly 29% since dipping their toes into triple-digit territory back in March.

For the second quarter, the Google parent reported adjusted second-quarter earnings of $11.75 per share -- a figure that excludes the company's record antitrust fine from the European Union -- on $32.66 billion in revenue. The results handily beat expectations, thanks in part to slowing expenses in Google's search business and a strong showing from its advertising division.

Analysts have been quick to chime in, too, with Alphabet stock receiving an onslaught of price-target hikes. The most optimistic came from Stifel, which raised its GOOGL price target to $1,456 from $1,234, representing expected upside of 20% to last night's close. What's more, Pivotal Research said there aren't any signs that a slowdown is coming, and KeyBanc said it continues "to recommend owning Alphabet shares."

Options traders have been quick to react to Alphabet's earnings reaction, too. In early trading, roughly 22,000 calls and 17,000 puts have changed hands so far -- six times what's typically seen at this point in the day.

The weekly 7/27 1,250-strike put is one of the most active, and it looks like new positions are being purchased here for a volume-weighted average price of $4.72. If this is the case, breakeven for the put buyers at this Friday's close is $1,245.28 (strike less premium paid).

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