Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) Attracts Music Lovers, Call Buyers

Call volume has spiked on SBUX ahead of its earnings report, due later this week

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Jan 19, 2016 at 11:40 AM

Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) is stirring up some positive attention ahead of its quarterly earnings report, due after the market closes this Thursday. The company revealed this morning that it is teaming up with music streaming service Spotify to connect customers to curated playlists through the Starbucks mobile app. The shares of SBUX are 1.1% higher at $58.65, and it looks like options traders are betting on more short-term upside.

SBUX calls are crossing the tape at twice their typical intraday rate, and outnumbering puts nearly 2-to-1. Traders appear to be targeting the weekly 1/29 61-strike call -- most active thus far. New buyers are expecting SBUX to topple $61 by the close next Friday, when the options expire -- possibly betting on a post-earnings surge.

Speaking of this week's earnings report, it appears traders are pricing in a 4.4% move in the shares, based on near-term at-the-money straddle data. This represents a relatively large swing, compared to SBUX's average one-day post-earnings move of 2.5% over the last eight reporting periods. It's worth noting, however, that six of those eight moves have been to the upside -- a factor likely influencing the recent preference for calls.

With the expiration of monthly options last Friday, near-term options traders aren't so put-heavy. In fact, SBUX now has a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of just 0.79 -- lower than 71% of readings in the past year. That means traders targeting options expiring in the next three month are now unusually call-skewed.

Analysts have been optimistic about Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX), as 19 out of 23 brokerages providing coverage give it a rating of "buy" or better, without a "sell" in sight. And short interest on the stock fell by nearly 7% during the last two reporting periods, now accounting for just 0.6% of SBUX's total available float.


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