Bearish Trading Ramps Up on Embattled Intel Stock

INTC has been churning below its 200-day moving average since August

by Patrick Martin

Published on Dec 26, 2018 at 11:11 AM

The shares of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) are up 0.2% today to trade at $43.68, after the company inked a $185 million grant with the Israeli government.  This comes as part of Intel's larger $5 billion expansion plans in Israel, where the chipmaker is one of the leading exporters and employers.

It's been a roughly stretch for Intel stock, which has spent the last few months churning between the $45-$50 trading range. The top end of this range coincides with INTC's 200-day moving average, with an early December rejection kicking off the equity's most recent leg lower. And thanks to last week's 6.31% drop, INTC is now trading below its year-to-date breakeven point. 

While Morgan Stanley struck a bullish tone recently, short sellers have started targeting the chip stock. Short interest jumped 20% in the two most recent reporting periods to 63.98 million shares. The bearish bandwagon is far from full, considering this represents a slim 1.4% of INTC's total available float. 

Bears have been increasing their exposure in the options pits, too. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), INTC's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.84 ranks in the 99th annual percentile. While this shows long calls are more popular on an absolute basis, the high ranking suggests the rate of put buying relative to call buying has been accelerated.



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