Stifel: Time to Buy Long-Time Winner ServiceNow Stock

ServiceNow options traders have been targeting calls at an accelerated rate

by Josh Selway

Published on Aug 21, 2019 at 10:14 AM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

ServiceNow Inc (NYSE:NOW) is up 2.5% out of the gate to trade at $262.47, thanks to a bullish note out of Stifel. The brokerage firm's analysts raised their rating on the shares to "buy" from "hold," and boosted their price target to $320 from $290, saying their checks on ServiceNow's partners suggest no slowdown in the business. It added that newer products should keep the growth going for several years, while pointing out that investors who bought at the initial public offering (IPO) price of $18 back in 2012 have enjoyed a more than 1,300% return.

Since hitting all-time highs near the $300 mark back in early July, NOW stock has pulled back to the $250 region, site of the April bull gap, suggesting a layer of technical support could be in place. This region is also home to the 160-day moving average, a trendline that acted as a floor in January.

Options data from them International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows call buying has more than doubled put buying during the past two weeks, telling us recent speculators have seemingly been betting bullishly on ServiceNow. Similarly, the Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.35 ranks in the lowest annual percentile. Said differently, options traders targeting contracts that expire within three months are unusually call-heavy.

To be sure, Wall Street already loves the stock. There are 26 analysts tracking NOW shares, and 20 of them have "strong buy" ratings. The average 12-month price target is $317.09, representing roughly 20% upside from current levels.


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