Should Options Traders Expect Higher Highs From Dollar Tree, Inc. (DLTR)?

Options traders have been betting bullishly on Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR), and rightfully so

by Josh Selway

Published on Aug 1, 2016 at 11:54 AM
Updated on Aug 1, 2016 at 11:56 AM

It seems to be an opportune time for options traders to target discount retailer Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR). Not only is the stock in the midst of a multi-year uptrend, but its Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 19% is at an annual low. This tells us that premium is pricing in unusually low volatility expectations on the stock's near-term options at the moment. So, should speculators pull the trigger on DLTR? 

First of all, the recent options activity on DLTR has been predominantly call-focused. For instance, the stock boasts a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 17.81 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which is only 5 percentage points from a 12-month high. 

Digging deeper, the September 95 and 97.50 strikes were the two most popular DLTR calls during the past two weeks, going by open interest added. Data from the major options exchanges shows buy-to-open activity taking place at both -- but especially heavy at the 97.50 strike -- meaning traders are betting on the retail stock to extend its upward momentum past the company's quarterly earnings report, tentatively scheduled for late August, and through the back-month options expiration on Friday, Sept. 16. 

Data seems to suggest optimism is picking up outside of DLTR options pits, as well. Specifically, short interest has been declining on the stock since this figure hit a 2016 peak in mid-April, falling 35%. Yet, plenty of skeptics remain, with short sellers controlling almost seven sessions' worth of buying power, going by DLTR's average daily volumes. As such, a continuation of this short-covering trend could result in tailwinds for the shares. 

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank this morning upgraded DLTR to "buy" from "hold," and raised its price target to $110 from $82 -- territory never before explored. Although the majority of analysts on Wall Street recommend buying the stock, eight brokerage firms still consider it just a "hold," and DLTR is now trading in line with its 12-month price target of $97.33. In other words, it's entirely possible more bullish analyst attention could come the stock's way. 

Of course, there's also the simple fact that Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR) has been splendid on the charts. As alluded to, the shares have been in a general uptrend since early 2008. In 2016 alone, DLTR is up 26% at $97.32, touching a record high of $97.84 earlier today. And while earnings are still a few weeks away, it's encouraging that the stock has moved higher in the session after earnings in seven of the last eight quarters, including a 12.8% post-report boom last quarter. 

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