Yum! Stock Sliding Despite Earnings Beat

Options traders are targeting an August recovery, though

Assistant Editor
Jul 30, 2020 at 10:24 AM
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Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell operator Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) entered the earnings confessional today, and the results were encouraging. Second-quarter earnings and revenue beat Wall Street's estimates, and while same-store sales fell, it was less than what analysts expected due to an increase in demand for comfort foods amid coronavirus-related lockdowns. Despite this, the shares of Yum! stock are sliding, last seen down 2.9% to trade at $92.00.

Today's breather takes Yum! stock back below its 200-day moving average, a trendline that stymied a rally back in June. Nevertheless, YUM is up 73.7% from its mid-March, four-year lows, despite a 18% year-over-year deficit. 

The options pits hint at a preference for puts. YUM's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.72 sits in the 95th annual percentile, implying short-term options players have rarely been more put-biased.

Today, amid limited absolute volume, options traders are taking a greater-than-usual interest in the fast-food chain. Options are trading at double the average intraday amount, with new positions being opened at the August 94 call. Buyers of these calls are banking on a rally from YUM by Aug. 21, when the contracts expire.

Regardless of direction, with earnings out of the way, premium can be had for a bargain amid a volatility crush. The security's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 32% is in the 22nd percentile of its annual range, meaning options players are pricing in relatively low volatility expectations right now. 

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