Mizuho Moves In on Edison International Stock Amid Wildfire Backlash

Near-term options open interest on EIX shows a strong tilt toward puts

Nov 21, 2018 at 9:22 AM
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The deadly wildfires in California have resulted in a sharp pullback in shares of Edison International (NYSE:EIX). More specifically, the selling essentially began back on Nov. 9, when EIX shares fell more than 12%. The next session the stock traded as low as $45.50 after Morgan Stanley estimated huge losses in utility equipment. The shares have recovered some since then, closing Tuesday at $52.78, and one analyst sees more upside potential ahead.

Specifically, Mizuho this morning upgraded Edison International to "buy" from "neutral," though it also cut its price target to $57.50 from $62. The analyst tracking EIX thinks the potential upside potential outweighs the downside from the wildfire liabilities. For the record, the firm placed a write-off liabilities estimate for the company at $3.3 billion.

While the majority of analysts tracking the security have "hold" or "strong sell" ratings, there are still a number of other bulls out there besides Mizuho. By the numbers, five brokerage firms still have "strong buy" ratings on EIX, and the average 12-month price target is $67.09.

Not surprisingly, near-term options open interest has become unusually put-skewed. This is based on the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.02, which ranks in the 87th annual percentile. This hints at a rare level of skepticism among short-term speculators.

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