TWNK Tumbles Despite Earnings Beat

Hostess stock is heavily shorted at the moment

Deputy Editor
May 17, 2021 at 10:25 AM
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The shares of snack food company Hostess Brands Inc (NASDAQ:TWNK) are faltering this morning, last seen down 1.9% at $15.41, following the firm's first-quarter earnings report. Hostess shared earnings of 20 cents per share, which came in just above analysts' estimates, on $265.42 million in revenue, also topping expectations. 

The stock has been running into a stiff ceiling at the $15.80 mark over the past week, though the 20-day moving average could step in as potential support, since it caught last week's pullback from this aforementioned rejection level. TWNK is up roughly 34% in the past 12 months. 

There isn't much to report by the way of post-earnings analyst chatter, but coming into today the brokerage bunch was overwhelmingly bullish. Of the six covering TWNK, five considered it a "strong buy," with just one lone wolf at a "hold." Plus, the 12-month consensus price target of $17.67 is a 13% premium to current levels. 

Calls have been incredibly popular, too. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), over 11 calls have been picked up for every one put during the past 10 days.

While calls are still outnumbering puts on an overall basis, the 100 put contracts traded so far represent six times what's typically seen at this point. The two most popular contracts are the May 15 call and the June 17.50 put. 

This optimism isn't reflected everywhere, though. Short sellers have been building their pessimistic positions, with short interest up 10.4% in the last two reporting periods. These 24.96 million shares sold short make up a hefty 22.84% of the stock's available float, and would take over a month to buy back at TWNK's average daily pace of trading. 

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