Put Volume Skyrockets on USPS Break-Up

STMP is getting destroyed, and option traders expect more downside

Managing Editor
Feb 22, 2019 at 10:16 AM
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Shares of shipping name Inc. (NASDAQ:STMP) are down more than 56% at $87.01 -- and just touched a fresh two-year low of $85.56 -- after the company announced the discontinuation of partnership with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). CEO Kenneth McBride said the company will "fully embrace partnerships with other carriers ... well positioned to win the shipping business in the next five years," but conceded that there will be "some short-term pain for us over the next few years." In fact, projected a surprise drop in full-year revenue.

Looking at analyst attention, Craig-Hallum was quick to react, lowering its price target by more than half, to $125 from $265. There could be more brokerage backlash on the horizon for STMP, too. All five covering firms maintain "strong buy" recommendations. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $251 is nearly triple STMP's current price.

Several short sellers are likely cheering today, even though is on the short-sale restricted list. Short interest on the shipping concern fell 5% during the most recent reporting period, but still accounts for 14.5% of STMP's total available float.

Options traders, meanwhile, are flooding STMP this morning, especially on the put side. The equity has already seen more than 8,000 puts change hands in the first hour of trading -- 179 times the average intraday pace, and already an annual high for daily put volume. Most popular is the soon-to-expire weekly 2/22 80-strike put, and it seems some eleventh-hour bears are buying to open the puts to bet on a breach of $80 before today's close.

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