Bull Notes, Trade News Boost iQiyi Stock

Outperforming IQ is heavily shorted

Feb 25, 2019 at 9:11 AM
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HSBC raised its price target on iQIYI Inc (NASDAQ:IQ) stock to $25 from $20 overnight. Plus, CMB International said it was "bullish on iQiyi's subscription growth and margin improvement," and made note of the Beijing-based streaming name's "strong content pipeline, innovative ads, and manageable content cost with favorable licensing pricing trends." 

This, along with upbeat developments on the U.S.-China trade front, have shares of IQ up 6.8% in electronic trading. This positive price action would just echo the stock's recent trajectory, with iQiyi adding 86.3% year-to-date. What's more, the shares closed Friday above their 160-day moving average for the first time since the trendline formed in mid-November, gapping 21.7% higher to settle at $27.70 on the back of a strong fourth-quarter earnings report.

This upside certainly has short sellers on edge. Short interest on IQ rose 6.1% in the two most recent reporting periods to 46.87 million shares. This represents 18.5% of the security's available float, or more than a week's worth of pent-up buying demand, at the average pace of trading.

Despite IQ's impressive start to 2019, just three brokerages currently cover the Chinese stock, with two maintaining a "strong buy" rating and one a tepid "hold." A round of bullish initiations could create tailwinds for the outperforming equity. Price-target hikes could draw more buyers to the table, too, considering the average 12-month price target of $25.82 is a discount to current levels.

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