Beat-and-Raise Boosts Cisco Systems Stock

Options bulls are blasting the stock in response

Digital Content Manager
Feb 17, 2022 at 10:12 AM
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The shares of Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO) are up 3.1% at $55.95 this morning after the company turned in an upbeat fiscal second-quarter earnings report. Cisco Systems reported profits of 84 cents per share of $12.70 billion in revenue, topping analysts estimates. It also lifted its full-year earnings outlook, citing strong growth and announced a $15 billion increase to its share buyback program. 

So far, two analysts have chimed in. Raymond James slashed its price target to $63 from $64, while Cowen and Company lifted its price target to $66 from $61. The 12-month consensus price target of $64.09 is a 14.4% premium to last night's close. However, some analysts remain hesitant. Of the 16 in coverage, six say "hold," compared to 10 "buy" or better ratings. 

Options traders have seen a bearish shift. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), CSCO sports a 50-day put/call volume ratio that sits higher than all but 1% of readings from the past year. This implies long puts are being picked up at a much quicker-than-usual clip. 

Today, however, calls are king, with 47,000 of these contracts exchanged within the first hour of trading, compared to 14,000 puts. Overall volume is running at nine times the intraday average, with the February 56 call being the most popular, followed by the 57 call in the same series, where positions are being bought to open. 

The equity has chopped lower over the past couple months, though today's pop has the stock toppling pressure at the 20-day moving average for the first time since mid-January. CSCO still sports a 21.1% year-over-year lead, despite losing roughly 12% in 2022, and the shares look to have found a floor near the $52 level. 


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