Papa John's Puts Pressure on Stock Bears with CEO Announcement

Papa John's could take out the 50-day moving average on today's CEO news

Aug 27, 2019 at 9:18 AM
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Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) is trading up 6.8% before the open, thanks to news the pizza chain has named Rob Lynch, formerly the President at Arby's Restaurant Group, as its CEO. This price action would have PZZA shares above the 50-day moving average, which has been acting as resistance in recent weeks, and in the meantime, some traders who've been betting against the security could be nervous amid today's headlines.

For starters, short interest has picked back up in recent reporting periods after a sharp decline in June, with the number of shorted shares increasing by almost 13% in the last two reporting periods. These bears control almost 8 days' worth of buying power, based on average trading volumes.

There's also been recent bearish activity at the major options exchanges. PZZA's 10-day put/call volume ratio at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) is 1.47, and ranks in the 80th annual percentile. In short, there's been strong demand in long puts recently.

This preference for puts is also evident among short-term traders, with the Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) coming in at 1.12. Overall, put open interest right now ranks in the 94th annual percentile, while call open interest is only in the 7th annual percentile. Still, peak front-month open interest is at the September 50 call.

As of yesterday's close at $43.82, Papa John's was down 27.6% since the November peak of $60.56, but many analysts have remained bullish. By the numbers, four out of five covering brokerage firms have "strong buy" recommendations on PZZA stock.





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