Short Covering, Upgrades Helped Carnival Call Buyers Win Big

Expectations were low toward outperforming Carnival Corp when we recommended long calls in November

Mar 30, 2017 at 2:48 PM
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Subscribers to Schaeffer's Option Advisor recently doubled their money with Carnival Corp (NYSE:CCL) April 48 calls, which we suggested options traders buy in the December newsletter, published on Nov. 17. Below is a brief recap of how CCL stock crossed our bullish radar, and how a subsequent surge in the shares produced big gains for call buyers.

When we recommended the call options, CCL stock had rallied nearly 20% off its late-June post-Brexit lows, breaking out above previous resistance at its 320-day moving average and round $50 mark along the way. Despite this impressive technical backdrop, there were low expectations levied toward the travel stock.

As CCL was charting a path toward six-month highs, for instance, short interest was surging -- climbing roughly 62% between July and November to hit a nearly three-year high. This pointed to ample sideline cash that could help fuel CCL's fire.

Plus, analysts had plenty of room to raise their ratings on the uptrending stock. At the time of our recommendation, 62% of brokerage firms that were covering CCL maintained a "hold" or worse rating. From our contrarian perspective, the potential for upgrades could draw more buyers to the table.

The expectations of possible short covering and positive analyst attention certainly played out for CCL stock over the next four months. While short interest is down more than 38%, more than half of analysts covering the shares now maintain a "strong buy" rating. As such, we were able to close out the Carnival Corp (NYSE:CCL) April 48 calls on March 21 for a 100% profit. 

ccl stock price chart

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