BTI Stock Up In Smoke on DoJ, OFAC Investigation

Analysts and options players have taken a bullish stance on the cigarette stock

by Jake Scott

Published on Apr 14, 2020 at 10:47 AM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

The shares of British American Tobacco PLC (NYSE:BTI) are down 2% at $36.65 after The Times reported that the company is being probed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for a suspected breach of sanctions. The firm declined to specify whether the case was a criminal investigation, but said it was cooperating with the DoJ and OFAC.

Though BTI staged an impressive rebound off its March 23, 11-year low of $27.32 --closing its early-March bear gap, and conquering its 20-day moving average -- overhead resistance at the $38- $36 region seems to have put the breaks on the equity's rally. Today, BTI is trading back below its 40-day moving average, and is down over 13% for the year. 

Despite this, analysts are still mostly bullish on BTI stock. Of the six in coverage, four sport a “strong buy” rating, while the remaining two say now is the time to “hold.” Plus, the 12-month consensus target price of $49.90 is a 34.9% premium to current levels. 

In the options pits, calls have been the preference lately. BTI sports a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 5.28 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which sits higher than 76% of all other readings from the past 12 months. 


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