Earnings Shocker Stokes Heavy Options Trading on Kate Spade Stock

Kate Spade stock is spiraling after the retailer reported an earnings miss, and options volume is accelerated

Apr 18, 2017 at 1:31 PM
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Shares of Kate Spade are spiraling today, after the accessories designer unexpectedly released its first-quarter earnings report -- with the results falling short of the consensus estimate. The company also did not provide guidance or host a conference call as it explores strategic alternatives, including a possible buyout by rival Coach. At last check, KATE stock was trading down 5.6% at $18.27. KATE options, meanwhile, are flying off the shelves, with one trader betting on a big bounce over the next several months.

Roughly 50,500 KATE options have changed hands so far, nine times the intraday average -- with volume on track to settle in the 100th annual percentile. Most active are the July 17 put and 20 call, due to two matching blocks of 15,000 contracts that traded at each strike earlier. Per Trade-Alert, the puts were sold to fund the purchase of the calls in what appears to be the initiation of a bullish risk-reversal. If this is the case, the spread was established for an initial net debit of $0.10 per spread ($0.80 premium paid for calls - $0.70 premium collected for puts), or $150,000 (premium paid * number of contracts * 100 shares per contract), betting that KATE will stay above $17 through July expiration -- and break out above $20.

This outlook echoes a similar trade made on April 7, when an option trader funded the purchase of a May 20-22 long call spread with the sale of May 17 puts, setting a near-term floor for KATE at $17, but a ceiling at $22. Meanwhile, more traditional options activity has been detected at the stock's April 25 call, home to peak front-month open interest of 20,337 contracts. It looks as if the bulk of the recent activity here has been of the buy-to-open kind, meaning options traders are betting on KATE stock settle north of $25 at this Friday's close, when the series expires.

Looking at the charts, the last time KATE stock traded north of $25 was last May. While the shares of Kate Spade gapped higher in mid-February on M&A buzz, speculation the retailer needed more time to consider a buyout bid from Coach sent KATE stock tumbling. With today's decline, the stock is trading below its 200-day moving average for the first time since before the takeover talk began, and is on track for its lowest close since Feb. 6.

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