Costco Wholesale Stock Sinks on Sales Miss

Options traders preferred COST calls ahead of earnings

Managing Editor
Oct 4, 2019 at 10:37 AM
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Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) is seeing a sluggish start to today's trading, last seen down 1% at $286.15, after the company reported quarterly revenue and comparable-store sales that missed analyst estimates. While Costco said its fiscal fourth-quarter sales miss was due to increased competition, it still managed to beat per-share earnings expectations, reporting adjusted figures of $2.69.

Disregarding the sales defeat, three analysts have already hiked their price targets on COST stock this morning. RBC seems the most optimistic, raising its price target to $329 from $321, while Jefferies and BMO Securities hiked theirs to $260 and $320, respectively. Coming into today, sentiment was a mixed bag, with 12 analysts rating the stock a "buy" or "strong buy," and eight sporting a "hold" or "strong sell" recommendation.

Looking at options, near-term traders were notably call-skewed ahead of earnings. This is per the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.82, which ranks in the 13th annual percentile. In fact, peak call open interest now sits at the expiring weekly 10/4 300-strike call, with more than 6,300 contracts outstanding. The October 300 call is runner-up, home to more than 4,100 open contracts.

Echoing this, Costco stock's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 1.62 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) ranks in the 91st annual percentile. In simpler terms, calls have been purchased over puts at a faster-than-usual clip.

Costco stock has had a mostly positive year on the charts, touching a record high of $307.34 in early September. The shares are up 40% in 2019, with support at the 60-day moving average keeping the stock's pullbacks at bay. This trendline could also end up lending support during today's slip.

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