FAANG Fears Bury UPS; Analyst Says Sell Tesla's "Elon Premium"

FEYE stock, meanwhile, is higher on upbeat attention from Baird

by Patrick Martin

Published on Jan 23, 2019 at 2:32 PM

Stocks are mixed today, as traders weigh strong blue-chip earnings against lingering concerns about the global economy. Among those struggling are electric car name Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and logistics stock United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS), while cybersecurity specialist FireEye Inc (NASDAQ:FEYE) is higher. Below, we'll take a look at what's moving the shares of TSLA, UPS, and FEYE.

Downgrade, Production Update Stall TSLA

Tesla stock is down 5.3% to trade at $282.99, after RBC issued a downgrade to "underperform" from "sector perform," while slashing its price target to $245 from $290. The analyst in coverage, in a note titled "Dream Deferred," said it sees growth views that are already too high, and urged investors to sell the "Elon premium." Echoing that, hedge fund manager and notorious TSLA short David Einhorn predicted a "shortage of demand" for Tesla.

TSLA's losses took a steeper turn later in the day, after the company announced it was reducing production hours of its Model S and Model X vehicles. This comes after the firm last week announced plans to slash its workforce by 7% in order to cut costs.

TSLA stock has now shed 15% in 2019, and is headed for its lowest close since October. Against this backdrop, option bears have emerged. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows that puts have been increasing in popularity in the last two weeks. TSLA stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.08 ranks in the 88th percentile of its annual range, indicating a much healthier-than-usual appetite for bearish bets of late.

Amazon Report Sinks UPS

Logistics icon UPS is down 2.3% to trade at $100.29, after a Wall Street Journal report indicated Amazon.com (AMZN) is luring shippers from the company with lower delivery fees (subscription required). On the charts, UPS shares have rallied more than 10% off their Christmas Eve bottom of $89.89, although the rebound appears to have found a ceiling at the security's 50-day moving average. 

The drop today has stirred up a bearish frenzy in the options pits. At last check, 9,700 UPS puts have changed hands, double what's usually seen at this point in the day, and volume pacing for the 97th percentile of its annual range. Most popular are the weekly 1/25 100- and 103-strike puts, where new positions are being opened. Buyers of the puts expect UPS shares to retreat beneath the strikes through Friday's close, when the options expire.

Baird Bullish on FEYE's 2019

FireEye stock is up 5.2% to trade at $16.96, after being added to Baird's "Fresh Pick" list. The analyst predicted a "breakout year" for FireEye products, as well as stronger-than-expected 2019 guidance from the cybersecurity concern. Baird currently rates FEYE an "outperform" and holds a $23 price target.

FEYE has surged more than 10% since its Christmas Eve lows in the $15.50 range, and has been in a channel of higher highs and lows since March 2017. Perhaps a short squeeze could add fuel to the fire. Short interest fell by 10% in the last two reporting periods, to 16.39 million shares. This still represents a healthy 9% of the stock's total available float, and nearly four days of pent-up buying power, at FEYE's  average pace of trading.


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