Contrary Plays on Goldman Sachs and Visa

06/22/2015 9:00 am EST


Our contrarian sentiment and technical data suggests there may be upside potential for some of the finance-related components of the Dow Industrial average, notes analyst Josh Selway of Schaeffer's Investment Research.

Namely, Goldman Sachs Group (GS) and Visa (V) could present contrarian opportunities, given the amount of pessimism surrounding them.

Starting with Goldman, the shares have been in a steady uptrend since early February, thanks in part to support from their 10­ and 40­-day moving averages. (In fact, this technical strength has been witnessed throughout the financial sector.)

Moreover, the security has outpaced the broader S&P 500 by almost 11 percentage points during the past 60 sessions.

Many on the Street are overlooking these gains, though, as analysts remain stubbornly in the bears' camp. There are 14 brokerage firms with coverage on GS and 11 of them say it's a hold or worse.

They've also been slow to update their price targets, as the stock's consensus 12­-month price target comes in at $212, a discount to today's price of $213.29.

It's not just analysts, as traders have been placing bearish bets at an accelerated clip recently. The stock's 50­-day put/call volume ratio comes in at 0.90, which is higher than 95% of readings from the past year.

In other words, put buying has been way more popular than normal. Additionally, short interest has continued to increase amid the stock's rise on the charts, growing over 22% during the two most recent reporting periods.

As mentioned, Goldman Sachs Group has already been picking up steam. Should analysts or traders begin to change their tune, it could provide tailwinds for the shares.

In a similar vein, Visa has been strong on the charts, up over 31% in the past 12 months, last seen at $69.16. Even as the shares have cooled off in recent months, relatively speaking, pullbacks have been contained by their rising 120-day moving average.

Regardless, traders have decided to take a bearish stance on V recently. For instance, at the beginning of June, the stock's 10­-day put/call volume ratio stood at only 0.47, meaning calls were being bought to open at twice the rate of puts.

However, the same reading now registers at 1.08, as puts have become the options of choice for buyers. Plus, the ratio stands higher than four-fifths of all similar readings from the past year.

Even more interesting is the fact that Visa has seen a decisive uptick in short interest recently, as it increased almost 10% in the past month.

With almost 60 million of the equity's shares controlled by bears, short interest on V represents almost 11 days' worth of trading, at its normal daily volumes.

If the shares resume their long-term uptrend, a capitulation among the weaker bearish hands could act as wind in V's sails.

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