Put Buyers Take Notice as Criteo S.A. (CRTO) Falls on Apple News

Criteo SA (ADR) (NASDAQ:CRTO) is off sharply following Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) ad-blocking decision

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jun 11, 2015 at 1:06 PM

Online marketing specialist Criteo SA (ADR) (NASDAQ:CRTO) is getting hammered, after reports that Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) upcoming version of iOS will allow iPhone users to block ads. At last check, CRTO has shed 12.1% to trade at $44.54, and options traders anticipate even more short-term downside.

With the stock on the short-sale restricted list, speculators have been setting their sights on CRTO puts, which are trading at 34 times the usual afternoon rate. Buy-to-open activity is transpiring at the now in-the-money June 45 put, suggesting option bears believe additional losses are in store between now and next Friday's close, when front-month contracts expire.

CRTO puts have been hot in recent weeks across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). The equity's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.46 ranks higher than 78% of comparable readings from the past year.

Analysts have taken a far more bullish approach. In fact, six of seven analysts consider CRTO a "buy" or better, compared to one "hold" rating and not a single "sell." On top of that, the stock's average 12-month price target of $58.78 stands at a 32% premium to current levels.

It should be noted that, prior to today, Criteo SA (NASDAQ:CRTO) was a technical juggernaut. As of Wednesday's close, the shares had advanced nearly 49% year-over-year, and outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 16.5 percentage points during the previous two months.

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