Barclays Downgrades DISH Stock Before Earnings

DISH Network earnings are due out after tonight's close

Jul 29, 2019 at 9:59 AM
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Last week, the Department of Justice (DoJ) gave its blessing to the Sprint (S)/T-Mobile (TMUS) merger after DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) agreed to buy Sprint's prepaid wireless business and some of the telecom's wireless spectrum. However, Barclays doesn't think the deal will create "major upside" for DISH stakeholders, and downgraded the stock to "underweight" from "equal weight."

The brokerage firm maintained its $31 price target -- a 22% discount to Friday's close at $39.51, and well below the average 12-month price target of $48.24. Meanwhile, seven of 12 analysts maintained a "hold" or worse rating on DISH stock prior to today.

In reaction, DISH Network shares are down 2.5% to trade at $38.54, testing a recent foothold atop their rising 40-day moving average. The stock hit a 17-month high of $44.65 last Wednesday, July 24, and is still up 54% year-to-date.

Nevertheless, options traders have shown signs of skepticism toward DISH stock, too. The August 35 put has seen the biggest increase in open interest over the past two weeks, and data Trade-Alert points to buy-to-open activity here. If this is the case, speculators expect the equity to sink below $35 by August options expiration -- a time frame that includes DISH Network's earnings report, set for release after tonight's close.

DISH stock has closed higher the day after earnings in four of the past eight quarters, including a 4.4% gain in May and a 14.5% pop one year ago. The shares have averaged a 6.4% next-day move over the last two years, regardless of direction, with the options market pricing in a wider 12.5% swing for tomorrow's trading.



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