Under Armour Accounting Probe Sends Stock Reeling

UAA stock is heavily shorted

Karee Venema
Nov 4, 2019 at 9:17 AM
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Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UAA) stock is sinking in electronic trading -- down 13.4%, at last check -- on news the athletic apparel retailer is being investigated by U.S. federal regulators over possible accounting fraud. The Wall Street Journal initially reported on the probe, which is being conducted by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and will look into whether or not UAA shifted quarterly sales to boost its financial results.

The WSJ report comes in the wake of a major C-suite shake-up at Under Armour, and hit just ahead of this morning's third-quarter earnings report, which showed profit and revenue beats of 23 cents per share and $1.4 billion, respectively, for the three-month period. However, the Nike (NKE) rival lowered its full-year revenue forecast for the second straight quarter, citing a challenging retail environment.

Should today's pre-market price action pan out, UAA stock will be headed toward its biggest one-day percentage drop since October 2017. The shares had been recovering since their Aug. 28 low at $17.64, but were more recently stuck between support at a trendline connecting higher lows since August, and resistance at their 80-day trendline. On Friday, Under Armour settled at $21.14.

Options traders had been taking the bullish route on UAA stock in recent weeks. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.80 registers in the 70th annual percentile, meaning calls have been bought to open over puts at a quicker-than-usual clip.

However, some of this call buying may have been at the hands of short sellers guarding against any upside risk. Short interest on Under Armour stock rose 7.2% in the most recent reporting period to 38.97 million shares. This accounts for 20.8% of the equity's available float, or 8.5 times the average daily pace of trading.


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