Tripadvisor Stock Hits Annual High on Revenue Beat

Now seems like a good time to buy TRIP options at a discount

Digital Content Manager
Feb 19, 2021 at 10:36 AM
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The shares of Tripadvisor Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP) are up 2.9% at $39.55 this morning, despite the travel name reporting fourth-quarter losses of 54 cents per share -- much wider than the 26 cent per share losses Wall Street anticipated. That's because the firm also posted a revenue beat, and added that travel demand should pick up as the Covid-19 vaccine rollout accelerates, leading to stronger results later this year. Right before its report, the company also received a price-target hike from Deutsche Bank to $38 from $36.  

The equity has been taking a trip up the charts over the past few months, after shares fell to a March 18, all-time low of $13.72. The 40-day moving average stepped up as a steady source of support in early November, and has since contained several pullbacks in December and February. The security is currently trading at annual highs, and sports a 109.8% nine-month lead.

Analysts were mostly pessimistic towards Tripadvisor stock coming into today, leaving ample room for additional price-target hikes and/or upgrades moving forward. Of the 17 in coverage, 12 called the security tepid "hold" or worse, while only five said "buy" or better. Plus, the 12-month consensus target price of $27.26 is a 29.5% discount to current levels. 

And while short sellers are already running for the exits, there is still plenty of pessimism left to be unwound, which could push TRIP even higher. Short interest fell 28.3% in the last two reporting periods, but the 10.77 million shares sold short account for 11.5% of the stock's available float, or more than three days' worth of pent-up buying power.

The options pits are firmly in the bullish camp, with calls popular. This is per the equity's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 6.18 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which sits higher than 80% of readings from the past year. This means calls are being picked up at a faster-than-usual clip.

Drilling down to today's options activity, more than 1,400 calls and 800 puts have been exchanged so far, which is twice the intraday average. Most popular is the February 40 call, followed by the March 40 call.

Lastly, now seems like a good opportunity to grab TRIP options at a discount. The stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 67% stands higher than 22% of all other readings in its annual range, indicating options players are pricing in relatively low volatility expectations at the moment.

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