Apple Stock Climbs After September Event Date Revealed

Apple shareholders may have initiated an options hedge

by Karee Venema

Published on Aug 29, 2019 at 2:09 PM
Updated on Aug 29, 2019 at 2:09 PM

Trade headlines are driving stocks higher today. Among individual names making notable moves are iPhone maker Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), cloud concern Nutanix Inc (NASDAQ:NTNX), and U.K. software firm Micro Focus International PLC (NYSE:MFGP). Here's a quick look at what's moving the shares of AAPL, NTNX, and MFGP.

Apple's September Event Expected to Feature New iPhones

Apple stock is trading up 1.5% at $208.64, after the tech giant said it will host an event on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Buzz is already building as to what AAPL will reveal at its September event, with reports pointing to new iPhone models and more details for Apple TV+. Upbeat U.S.-China trade news is creating tailwinds for Apple, too, putting the shares on track for a big weekly gain -- up 3% so far from last Friday's close.

Options traders are positioned for a short-term pullback. The September 200 put is home to peak front-month open interest of more than 36,000 contracts. Data from the major options exchanges confirms notable buy-to-open activity here, meaning speculators expect a retreat below $200 over the next few weeks. Considering AAPL stock is up 32% year-to-date, it's possible some of this put buying is protective.

Nutanix Options Volume Spikes After Earnings

Nutanix stock is up 28.9% at $25.24 -- pacing for its biggest one-day percentage gain ever -- after the data storage specialist reported a slimmer-than-expected adjusted fiscal fourth-quarter loss of 57 cents per share. Additionally, Chief Financial Officer Duston Williams said the company's shift to a subscription model is running "ahead of schedule."    

While Jefferies is optimistic toward this shift, the brokerage firm cut its NTNX price target to $34 from $40 on concerns over rising sales and marketing costs. Baird also slashed its Nutanix price target, to $29 from $41.

Options traders have been quick to react after Nutanix's earnings report, with nearly 39,000 contracts on the tape so far -- eight times the average intraday amount. The weekly 8/30 25-strike and October 30 calls are most active, and it looks like new positions are being purchased here as speculators bet on bigger gains for the stock.

Revenue Warnings Sinks Micro Focus Shares

Micro Focus International lowered its full-year revenue guidance, with CEO Stephen Murdoch saying the company will undergo a strategic review. In reaction, the shares are down 32.6% at $12.72 -- slicing through the $18-$19 region that had served as support since mid-July, and hitting a record low of $12.63 earlier.

Short sellers are likely cheering this latest slide. Short interest on MFGP climbed 22.6% in the last two reporting periods to 1.68 million shares -- the most since mid-January. These bears are sidelined today, though, with Micro Focus stock landing on the short-sale restricted list.

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