Cloud Stock Climbs to Record Highs After Earnings

Options traders are targeting NOW in full force

Assistant Editor
Oct 28, 2021 at 11:13 AM
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ServiceNow Inc (NYSE:NOW) is up 3.4% to trade at $686.64 at last check, and earlier hit a fresh record high of $694, after the cloud name posted better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and revenue. No fewer than 12 analysts raised their price objectives in response, with the highest adjustment coming from Barclays to $791 from $784.

The security has been moving up the charts since June, with the 60-day moving average providing support for its late September to mid-October pullback. Year-to-date, NOW is up 24.6%.

The majority of analysts are bullish on ServiceNow stock, with 20 of the 23 in coverage carrying a "buy" or better rating, and three a tepid "hold." Ahead of today's bull notes, the 12-month consensus price target of $711.84 already represented never-before-seen highs. 

The options pits are seeing plenty of activity today, with options volume running at six times the intraday average, and pacing for the 99th percentile of its annual range. So far, 14,000 calls and 4,360 puts have crossed the tape. The weekly 10/29 700-strike call is the most popular, followed by the 720-strike call in the same series, with new positions opened at both. 

This preference for calls hasn't always been the norm. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), NOW's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.10 stands higher than 92% of readings from the last year. This means long puts have been getting picked up at a much quicker-than-usual pace.

It's also worth noting that NOW's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) sits at 82 out of 100, meaning the equity tends to outperform these volatility expectations -- a boon for potential buyers. 

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