Zulily, Inc. (ZU) Breakout Leaves Option Bulls Hungry

Zulily Inc (ZU) is surging on high volume

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jun 15, 2015 at 12:56 PM

Shares of e-commerce company Zulily Inc (NASDAQ:ZU) are charging higher today on high volume, up 4.3% at $14.66. Options traders have responded, as calls are running at 42 times the typical intraday rate.

The most active ZU strike is the June 14 call -- thanks in part to a 1,259-contract sweep -- and Trade-Alert suggests buy-to-open activity is transpiring here. By purchasing the in-the-money contracts for a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.59, speculators believe the stock will settle atop breakeven at $14.59 (strike plus VWAP) this Friday night, when front-month options expire.

This bullish betting stands in stark contrast to sentiment seen among analysts and short sellers. Ninety percent of brokerage firms tracking ZU consider it a "hold," and the stock's average 12-month price target of $12.11 stands at a discount to its current perch.

Also, 27% of ZU's float is sold short. At the equity's typical daily trading levels, it would take nearly seven sessions to cover all these bearish bets.

While this negativity may be surprising in light of Zulily Inc's (NASDAQ:ZU) intraday gains, a longer-term perspective offers some clarity. Since the start of 2015, the stock has lost more than 37%, and since late February, has spent most of its time churning in the $12-$15 range. However, it's worth noting ZU is on track to finish above its 100-day moving average for the first time since November.

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