Fresh "Buy" Rating Could Have Urban Outfitters Stock Bouncing

URBN is heavily shorted

Managing Editor
Oct 2, 2018 at 9:31 AM
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The shares of Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN) are pointed higher in electronic trading, after brokerage firm B. Riley upgraded the retailer to "buy" from "neutral," and maintained its price target of $52 -- a 30% premium to last night's close at $40.04. The analyst in coverage waxed optimistic on the company's online presence, and noted that high consumer confidence likely will drive spending this holiday season. 

On the charts, Urban Outfitters stock climbed to a record high of $52.50 on Aug. 22 after earnings. A swift pullback ensued, with the stock turning in a September loss of 12%, its worst month since May 2017. However, the drop appears to have been contained by the shares' 200-day moving average, home to the round $40 mark. Overall, URBN still boasts a 14% lead in 2018, closing last night at $40.04. 

A continued round of short covering could keep the wind at the equity's back. Short interest fell by 8.8% in the last two reporting periods, yet the 12.31 million shares sold short represents nearly 15% of URBN's total available float. At the stock's average daily pace of trading, it would take almost a week to buy back these bearish bets. 

In the options pits, calls have been all the rage across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), albeit amid relatively low absolute volume. The equity's 10-day call/put volume ratio sits at 3.70, and ranks in the 92nd percentile of its annual range. This means that URBN calls have been purchased relative to puts at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks.

The good news for URBN options traders is that premium appears attractively priced at the moment. This is per the stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 35%, which ranks in the 7th percentile of its annual range. In simpler terms, short-term options are cheap, from a volatility perspective.

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