CTL Caves on Heels of Analyst Bear Note

Analysts are bearish on CenturyLink stock

Assistant Editor
Jul 15, 2020 at 9:52 AM
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The shares of integrated communications name CenturyLink Inc (NYSE:CTL) are down 0.4% at $9.85 at last check, after a downgrade from Oppenheimer to "perform" from "outperform." The firm expects the next few quarters to be difficult due to coronavirus, as wireless and cable become heavy competitors for broadband. 

On the charts, the Enterprise parent has struggled to break above the $10 region lately, with overhead pressure at the 20-day moving average. Year-to-date, the equity is down around 25%. 

Coming into today, only two analysts give CenturyLink a "strong buy," while five say "hold," and seven carry a "sell" or worse rating. Meanwhile, the stock is right in line with its 12-month consensus price target of $9.86. 

The options pits are looking much more optimistic, however. CTL's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 3.76 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) stands higher than 86% of all other readings in its annual range, revealing a penchant for long calls. 

Though, some of these calls could be shorts hedging against a potential upside. The 112.21 million shares sold short represent 10.3% of the stock's available float, or nearly 10 days to cover, at CTL's average pace of trading. 

That said, speculating on CenturyLink's next move with options could be a prudent play. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 51% stands higher than just 11% of all other readings in its annual range, implying that options players are pricing in relatively low volatility expectations at the moment. 

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