Weight Watchers Put Options Pop After Oprah Denies Presidential Bid

Weight Watchers stock has added 442% year-over-year

Managing Editor
Jan 25, 2018 at 3:29 PM
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Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE:WTW) is trading lower today, after Oprah Winfrey clarified that she was not interested in a presidential run in 2020. Considering Winfrey holds a major stake in WTW, the stock is down 3.3% on the news to trade at $65.15 today, on track for its worst single-day session of the new year, and put traders are pouncing. 

WTW's struggles today may not be entirely attributable to the Oprah interview, though. The equity's 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) closed at 79 on Wednesday, well in overbought territory, suggesting a near-term pullback may have been in the cards.

Regardless, Weight Watchers stock had been on a hot streak this year, after Oprah's Golden Globes speech earlier in the month fueled rumors of a 2020 bid. Longer term, the security has tacked on an astounding 442% year-over-year, culminating in a five-year high of $68.88 yesterday. Despite today's struggles, the pullback appears to be contained by the shares' 10-day moving average.

What's impressive is WTW's ability to rally in the face of intense selling pressure. Short interest increased by 16% during the last two reporting periods to 8.58 million shares, its highest point since mid-June. This represents more than 31% of WTW's total available float. 

This skepticism is echoed in the options pits. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows the stock's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.56 ranks in the 80th percentile of its annual range. This suggests that puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks.

Put volume is accelerated today, with almost 4,200 puts traded -- 1.3 times the intraday pace. The weekly 1/26 65-strike put is in the lead, but it looks like WTW options traders could be selling to open new positions here. If this is the case, they're betting on WTW to hold above the strike through expiration at tomorrow's close.

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