Walgreens Eyes Worst Month in Years After Earnings

The blue chip just launched a major cost-cutting plan

by Lillian Currens

Published on Dec 20, 2018 at 10:19 AM

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ: WBA) are down 3.3% to trade at $70.60 this morning, despite reporting quarterly adjusted earnings that beat analysts' expectations. Traders are apparently reacting to a steeper-than-expected drop in same-store sales, and the pharmacy giant announced plans to cut more than $1 billion in costs over the next three years.

The month of December has been brutal for the blue chip, with WBA down 16.1% so far -- pacing for its worst month since June 2010. The equity is on pace for a sixth straight loss, and has dipped below its year-to-date breakeven of $72.62 today.  Now, the shares are testing their footing atop the 160-day moving average. 

Analysts have reservations about the pharmacy giant. Only four analysts give WBA a "buy" or better rating, while 12 slapped it with a tepid "hold." Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, recently downgraded the Dow stock to "sell." Meanwhile, the consensus 12-month price target of $78.57 represents just a 7.2% premium to current levels. 

Traders are jumping on the bearish bandwagon, too. Short interest is up 8.6% in the past two reporting periods, and WBA's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.12 sits in the 99th percentile of its annual range -- indicating that short term options players have rarely been more put-heavy in the past year. 

 

 


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