Options Traders Have High Expectations for McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) Earnings

Speculators are betting on a big upside move from McDonald's Corporation (MCD)

by Josh Selway

Published on Apr 21, 2015 at 12:19 PM

McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings before the open tomorrow, and options traders are taking a bullish stance ahead of the event. Calls are trading at twice the normal intraday volume, with the weekly 4/24 98-strike call leading the way by a wide margin. It appears speculators are buying to open the contracts, expecting MCD to topple $98 by Friday's close, when the series expires.

At last check, the shares were 1.1% lower at $95.08, meaning they would need to add 3.1% within the next three days in order for the weekly 4/24 98-strike calls to finish in the money. History isn't on the side of the bulls, though. Out of MCD's last eight trips to the earnings confessional, it's only mustered one positive post-earnings session -- back in January 2014. When MCD reported this past January, the equity dropped 1.5% in the session following the announcement.

Outside of today, the security has actually seen an uptick in put buying, according to data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Across these exchanges, MCD has accumulated a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.38, which outranks 93% of all similar readings from the past year. In other words, puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-usual rate.

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Analysts certainly aren't believers in McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD), issuing 15 "hold" or "sell" ratings. The shares have earned this negative outlook by falling 4.3% in the past 12 months.


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