Another Facebook Stock Downgrade Hits as Put Buying Peaks

Put buying has been unusually popular on FB in recent weeks

Dec 21, 2018 at 10:04 AM
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In the latest Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) news cycle, the company, along with rival Twitter (TWTR), said it's removing fake news sites in Bangladesh ahead of elections there. Bloomberg has also reported that the tech giant is working on a cryptocurrency to be used in its WhatsApp application. Meanwhile, back on Wall Street, FB stock was just hit with a downgrade to "sell" from "hold" at DZ Bank, which runs counter to the analyst attention the security received yesterday.

Pessimism has also been building in the options pits, not surprising given the equity's rapid decline on the charts and increasingly negative news reports. Looking at data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the 10-day put/call volume ratio has risen to 0.98, showing a near-even split between put buying and call buying during the past two weeks. However, this level of put buying relative to call buying is highly unusual, and in fact this reading ranks in the 100th annual percentile.

Some may be surprised to see that short interest on the struggling social media name still sits at just 1.3% of the total float, though the number of shorted shares has steadily been increasing in recent months, including a 7.8% rise in the last two reporting periods. Looking at this another way, the 30.6 million shares held by short sellers is quickly nearing the peak levels from April earlier this year. So far today, Facebook shares are down 1.5% at $131.43.

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