Wells Fargo Moves In on VMware Stock

VMW put buying has picked up

by Josh Selway

Published on Oct 1, 2019 at 10:07 AM

VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW) is trading up 2.4% at $155.56, thanks to bullish analyst attention. Wells Fargo this morning upgraded its opinion on the software name to "outperform" and boosted its price target by $40 to $180. This price level served as a ceiling for the shares from June through early August, and represents 20% upside to last night's close of $150.06.

Today's price action has VMW stock back above its 50-day moving average for the first time since Aug. 2, though the equity's May peak of $206.80 is still far away. Meanwhile, data from the major options exchanges shows that traders were betting bearishly on VMware before today.

That is, the security's 10-day put/call volume ratio at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) is 1.33, which not only shows long puts outpacing long calls in the past two weeks, but that reading ranks in the top quartile of its annual range. In other words, this level of put buying compared to call buying is rather rare. Still, peak front-month open interest sits at the October 160 call.

But turning back to analysts, most have remained bullish on VMW, despite the bearish attention it received following the August M&A moves. Thirteen of the 21 covering brokerage firms recommend buying the stock, while the average 12-month price target is up at $174.

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