Airbnb Stock Warns of Covid-19 Delta Variant Threat

Options traders are blasting the equity today

Digital Content Manager
Aug 13, 2021 at 11:10 AM
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The shares of Airbnb Inc (NASDAQ:ABNB) are down 1.5% to trade at $151.82 at last check, after the company reported slimmer-than-expected second-quarter losses of 11 cents per share, as opposed to the losses of 47 cents per share Wall Street anticipated. However, the online marketplace for lodging warned that the Covid-19 delta variant could impact current-quarter bookings, as the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. continues losing steam.

Analysts are already chiming in on the results. The security earned at least three price-target hikes this morning, including one from Wells Fargo to $210 from $200. It also earned a price-target cut from BofA Global Research, though, to $164 from $180. Analysts are mostly optimistic towards ABNB, with 16 of 28 in coverage sporting a "buy" or better rating, while the stock's 12-month consensus target price of $174.71 is a 16.1% premium to current levels.

It has been a volatile few months for Airbnb stock, since it first went public in December with an initial public offering (IPO) price of $68. Overhead pressure at the $152 mark has been keeping a tight lid on shares since early July, despite a bounce off the $130 level. In the last six months, ABNB has shed 29%.

Meanwhile, short sellers have been hitting the exits in droves. Short interest fell 26.4% over the last two reporting periods, though the 9.93 million shares sold short still make up 6.3% of the stock's available float. In other words, the equity could still move higher, should pessimism continue to unwind.

As far as today's options activity is concerned, 61,000 calls and 24,000 puts have been exchanged thus far, which is five times the intraday average. Most popular is the weekly 8/13 150-strike call, followed by the 152.50-strike call in the same series, with positions being opened at both. This indicates buyers expect more upside for ABNB by the end of today's session, when these contracts expire.

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