Accenture (ACN) Bears Gamble On Post-Earnings Dip

Accenture Plc (ACN) traders are buying March puts

Mar 24, 2015 at 3:07 PM
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Accenture Plc (NYSE:ACN) is down about 1.9% today to hit $89.81, trimming the equity's year-to-date lead to 0.6%. Meanwhile, put activity in the options pits is heating up, with some traders apparently gambling on eleventh-hour downside for ACN ahead of Thursday morning's fiscal second-quarter earnings release.

ACN options have been crossing the tape at about six times the average rate today, with puts outpacing calls by a roughly 2-to-1 ratio. The day's most active strike (by a large margin) is the weekly 3/27 90-strike put, where new positions are being bought to open. By purchasing this put, speculators expect the security to continue its journey south of the strike price by Friday's close.

Today's spike in put action runs alongside recent sentiment in the options pits, as ACN's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 2.48 ranks higher than 97% of all similar readings taken over the past year. Echoing this indicator is the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.25, which sits in the 100th percentile of its annual range. Simply stated, traders have never been this put-skewed over the past 12 months.

Traders hoping for additional downside following the release of Thursday's earnings report are betting on ACN's mixed earnings history to skew bearish once again. In the session immediately following its latest earnings release on Dec. 18, Accenture Plc (NYSE:ACN) gained 5.2%. However, following its March 2014 quarterly report, the stock shed 5% in one day.

Daily Chart of ACN Since March 2014

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