Yelp Stock Gets Bad Reviews Post-Earnings

Analysts are issuing major downgrades for YELP stock

by Lillian Currens

Published on Nov 9, 2018 at 11:03 AM

At last check, Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) stock was trading down 27.7% at $31.45, after the company reported weaker-than-expected third-quarter sales and cut its full-year revenue forecast. The online review name is set for its worst day ever, and earlier touched a new annual low of $29.35. As such, a slew of analysts are downwardly revising their ratings and price targets on YELP stock.

Wedbush issued a notable downgrade, cutting the stock to "neutral" from "outperform" and slashing its price target to $32 from $60. In fact, at least 12 brokerage firms cut their price targets. There's room for more negative attention, too. Prior to today, half of the 20 analysts following YELP considered it a "buy" or better. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $42.43 now represents a nearly 38% premium to the stock's current price.

Before today's nosedive, Yelp stock was testing its 40-day trendline, which acted as resistance earlier this year. Now, the shares are in territory not charted since mid-2017. 

While short-term put open interest is more prevalent than usual, as evidenced by the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) in the 98th percentile of its annual range, options traders were buying YELP calls at an accelerated clip ahead of earnings. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 4.50 registers in the 87th percentile of its annual range.

However, some of the recent call buying -- particularly at out-of-the-money strikes -- could be attributed to short sellers seeking to hedge their bearish bets in the event of a stock rally.  Short interest on YELP jumped 15.5% in the most recent reporting period, and now represents nearly 11% of the equity's total available float.

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