Apple Supplier Struck With Antitrust Court Ruling

QCOM is heading toward its worst day in over two years

Managing Editor
May 22, 2019 at 9:43 AM
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This morning, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, ruled that Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) has violated antitrust law. More specifically, Koh accused the Apple supplier of marginalizing competition for cellphone chips by exacting steep licensing fees. In her own words, "Qualcomm’s licensing practices have strangled competition in the CDMA and the premium LTE modem chip markets for years, and harmed rivals, OEMs, and end consumers in the process.”

In response, Qualcomm stock is down 9.6% to trade at $70.28 this morning, on track for its worst day since January 2017. On the strength of a settled Apple dispute, QCOM roared to a 20-year high of $90.34 as recently as May 2. Now though, the shares are on their way to a third straight weekly loss.

Short sellers have been coming out of the woodwork in droves. Short interest more than doubled in the most recent reporting period, yet still only accounts for 3.6% of QCOM's total available float, and less than a day's worth of pent-up buying power, at its average pace of trading. 

Looking at recent options trends reveals a stronger-than-usual affinity for bearish bets of late. QCOM currently sports a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.63 on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). While this ratio indicates that purchased calls outnumbered puts on an absolute basis in the past two weeks, the ratio registers in the 91st percentile of its annual range, pointing to accelerated put buying during the past two weeks.

Lastly, AMD's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) stands at a whopping 100 (out of 100). In other terms, this shows that the shares have regularly exceeded options traders' volatility expectations in the past year.


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