Weak Guidance Sends Vocera Communications Shares Sliding

VCRA put buying was popular before earnings

by Josh Selway

Published on Feb 8, 2019 at 9:18 AM

Vocera Communications Inc (NYSE:VCRA), a provider of a variety of mobile solutions for industries like healthcare and hospitality, has seen its stock rise on the charts in recent years. But today the shares are setting up for a sell-off, down 21.9% in pre-market trading, after the company's quarterly results.

For the fourth quarter, Vocera's revenue came in below Wall Street's expectations, and the firm also posted weak current-quarter and full-year guidances. In response, Cantor Fitzgerald cut its price target to $37 from $45, but said it's still bullish on the company's long-term outlook. What's more, Oppenheimer this morning actually moved its price target up to $38 from $36.

Coming into today, VCRA shares were up more than 47% over the past year, and touched an all-time high of $42.53 on Feb. 5. They closed Thursday at $39.69, right near their 50-day moving average. However, today's sell-off would send Vocera Communications to territory not seen since October.

A number of traders are well positioned for a pullback. Short interest, for example, represents 14.1% of the float, or two weeks' worth of buying power, based on average daily trading volumes. What's more, the equity's put/call volume ratio over the past two weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) was 3.60, showing heavy demand for long puts.

One strike options traders continued to target during this time was the February 40 put, which is home to peak open interest. Data confirms traders have bought to open this contract, so today's sharp drop in the security would be wonderful news for these bears.

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