Baidu Stock Falls on Sector Peer's SEC Investigation

Baidu-backed iQIYI is being probed by the SEC

Deputy Editor
Aug 14, 2020 at 11:01 AM
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China-based search engine Baidu Inc (NASDAQ:BIDU) reported second-quarter earnings of $2.12 per share, well above the $1.38 expected by analysts, alongside better-than-anticipated revenue. However, paring positive post-earnings sentiment today is an investigation by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into streaming service iQIYI (IQ), on the grounds of inflating financial numbers. Baidu, a majority shareholder of "China's Netflix," is sliding as more is disclosed amid already-sparked U.S.-China tensions, down 5% at $118.30 at last check. 

On the charts, BIDU is now a chip-shot beneath former support at the 60-day moving average, dipping below it for the first time since mid-May. Year-over-year, the equity is still up 24.1%.

Analysts were overwhelmingly bullish on Baidu stock ahead of earnings, with nine out of 10 at a "strong sell," and one at a "hold." Echoing this sentiment, the stock's 12-month consensus price target of $145.18 is around a 23% premium to current levels. 

Despite calls outnumbering puts on an absolute basis, BIDU's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.55 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) is in the elevated 87th percentile of its annual range. This means that puts have been bought at a faster-than-usual rate lately. 

Today, the stock is seeing a much higher amount of volume in the options pits than usual. So far, 18,000 calls and 17,000 puts have crossed the tape, with puts running at 17 times what's typically seen at this point. Most popular is the August 120-strike put, followed by the 116-strike put in the same series, with new positions being opened at both. This means plenty of options players are betting on more downside for BIDU by the time the contract expires in one week. 


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