Needham is Buying Trade Desk Ahead of the 2020 Election

There is an unusual call-skew among short-term TTD traders

by Emma Duncan

Published on Dec 6, 2019 at 10:36 AM

Digital advertising firm Trade Desk Inc (NASDAQ:TTD) is moving higher this morning, following an upgrade to "buy" from "hold" at Needham. The brokerage firm said the company's top line should get a boost as demand for ads rise ahead of next year's U.S. presidential election. From a broader perspective, six of the 13 following analysts held a "buy" or better recommendation coming into today.

TTD has had a volatile 2019. The equity climbed to a record peak of $289.51 on Aug. 9, but by late September, had dropped back to the $180 level of support. The shares then moved into recovery mode, and a recent pullback was quickly contained at the 80-day trendline earlier this week. At last check, the security is trading up 4.9% at $252.17, bringing its year-to-date lead to 117%.

Short interest on Trade Desk stock jumped 19.8% during the past two reporting periods, and now accounts for 15.6% of the equity's total available float. At TTD's average pace of trading, it would take short sellers nearly four days to buy back their bearish bets. A round of short covering could keep the wind at Trade Desk's back.

Options traders would certainly welcome more upside. The stock’s Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.56 ranks in the 8th percentile of its annual range. This shows that there is an unusual call-skew among short-term speculators. In the front-month series, peak open interest is found at the December 280 call, and data from Trade-Alert points to buy-to-open activity here.

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