American Airlines Stock Hits New Low After TRASM Update

There's plenty of optimism priced into the underperforming airline stock

by Karee Venema

    Published on Oct 9, 2018 at 10:32 AM
    Updated on Oct 9, 2018 at 10:34 AM

    American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ:AAL) said it expects to post a 2%-3% year-over-year rise in total revenue per available seat mile (TRASM) in the third quarter, even after canceling 2,100 flights due to Hurricane Florence. The airline is slated to report full earnings for the three-month period before the market opens on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

    Nevertheless, AAL stock is trading down 4% to trade at $34.45, hit by a bearish open on Wall Street. This negative price action is just more of the same, with the shares down roughly 34% year-to-date. More recently, American Airlines has racked up a 16.5% deficit in October, and notched a two-year low of $34.31 out of the gate.

    Options traders have kept the faith, though. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), AAL's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 6.95 ranks in the 92nd annual percentile, meaning calls have been bought to open over puts at a quicker-than-usual clip.

    Echoing this is AAL's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.40, which ranks in the 16th percentile of its 12-month range. In other words, short-term speculators are more call-heavy than usual toward the stock.

    The optimism is seen outside of the options pits, too, where 10 of 13 analysts maintain a "buy" or better rating on AAL, with not one "sell" on the books. Plus, the average 12-month price target sits all the way up at $51.47. Should American Airlines extend this downtrend, a shift in sentiment among options traders and/or analysts could create stiffer headwinds.

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