Boeing Headwinds Hit SPR; Healthcare Stock Falls on CEO Exit

Puts are popular during SNN's decline

by Josh Selway

Published on Oct 21, 2019 at 3:13 PM

Stocks are mostly gaining today on a positive round of trade headlines. However, three names struggling on the charts are aircraft equipment manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:SPR), software firm Micro Focus International PLC (NYSE:MFGP), and medical device stock Smith & Nephew plc (NYSE:SNN). Here's a look at how SPR, MFGP, and SNN are trading.

Boeing Fears Weigh on SPR

SPR stock is trading down 5.9% today at $74.70, after UBS downgraded its rating to "neutral" and dropped its price target to $88 from $92, expecting Boeing's (BA) MAX headwinds to hurt the company's production rate. However, the shares earlier bounced from familiar support at the $72 price point, which served as a solid floor in July and August, and sits right above the year-to-date breakeven point.

While volume has been limited on an absolute level, there's been a clear preference for puts among Spirit AeroSystems speculators. For instance, the 10-day put/call volume ratio comes in at 8.55 across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), ranking in the 94th annual percentile. Most analysts are bearish, too, with eight of the 11 in coverage handing out "hold" or "strong sell" recommendations.

No Buyout Bid for MFGP

MFGP shares were last seen down 13.6% at $13.11, after Open Text Corp (OTEX) said it was not considering buying the software company, despite recent speculation. The stock has last more than half its value since an April peak above $32, and continues to trade near all-time-low territory.

This disappointing price action has resulted in overwhelming bearishness from analysts. Right now, just 20% of the covering firms recommends buying shares of Micro Focus.

CEO Departure Hits Smith & Nephew

Finally, SNN shares are sliding, last seen down 8.3% at $43.81, after the company's CEO stepped down, reportedly to pursue opportunities in the U.K. This price action breaks the stock's strong uptrend in 2019, though it's still more than 1 point above the 200-day moving average and sports a 17% year-to-date lead.

Options traders are moving in today, too, with puts crossing at nine times the expected pace. Most popular overall is the November 42.50 put, where new positions are opening, while the same strike is also popular in the December series.

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