Options Players Eye More Upside for General Mills Stock

The stock is up roughly 10% in the past 12 months

Digital Content Manager
Mar 13, 2020 at 12:23 PM
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General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) is enjoying today's broad-market rally, up 4.4% to trade at $52.16 and once again finding support at its 320-day moving average -- a trendline breached during yesterday's steep selloff. This positive price action comes right ahead of General Mill's quarterly earnings report, due out before the open next Wednesday, March 18. 

All things considered, General Mills stock has been holding up fairly well in recent months, with the $50- $52 region and its 320-day moving average providing support during such a volatile period of trading for stocks. In fact, the security just bounced off these regions on Tuesday to touch a six-month high of $55.68. Plus, GIS is still boasting a nearly 10% 12-month gain.

GIS Chart March 13

Today, calls are ruling the roost, with 1,941 calls across the tape so far compared to just 229 puts. The most popular position by a landslide is the March 60 call, while calls make up the five most active contracts today. This means these bulls will profit if the underlying stock rallies above the $60 level by the time these contracts expire next Friday, March 20. 

This tendency towards bullish bets is nothing new for GIS. In the past 10 days 5.77 calls have been picked up for every put at the the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This ratio sits in the 89th percentile of its annual range, suggesting a much healthier appetite for long calls of late. 

Taking at look at General Mill's last eight post-earnings sessions, General Mills has ended lower five times, which includes a 8.9% drop back in March 2018. During these past two years, GIS averaged a modest 4% post-earnings swing, regardless of direction. For next Thursday, options traders are pricing a much larger-than-usual 10.4% swing.

A round of bull notes could push GIS higher, too. Currently, only three analysts in coverage call GIS a "strong buy" compared to 10 who consider it a "hold," with zero "sells" on the books. Plus, the consensus 12-month price target of $55.17 is a slim 6.6% premium to current levels. 


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