Qualcomm: A Contrary Call

07/02/2014 7:00 am EST


Beth Gaston Moon

, Schaeffer's Investment Research, Inc.

As her latest options trading highlight, Beth Gaston Moon looks at a digital communications name. Here's the latest from Schaeffer Investment Research, which focuses on contrarian and technical metrics.

Qualcomm (QCOM) has been on quite a bullish tear in recent months. Year-over-year, the stock has risen nearly 30%, easily outperforming the broad market. And, as recently as April 21, the shares had reached $81.66—their highest perch since January 2000.

In the subsequent weeks, the stock has been setting up what looks like a potential entry point for a bullish trade. QCOM has pulled back to test its 80-day moving average, which has previously acted as a springboard for the shares.

Data from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White reveals that 21 days after the last 11 retests of this trendline, Qualcomm was in the black 82% of the time (with an average gain of 2.7%).

Even as QCOM continues to march north there are overt signs of skepticism toward the equity. During the last ten days, nearly 37,000 put options have been bought to option, versus 13,798 calls.

The resulting put/call volume ratio of 2.68 stands a mere 1 percentage point shy of an annual peak. In other words, long puts have rarely been more popular (relative to long calls) during the past 12 months.

In a similar vein, Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio for QCOM stands at 0.65, in the 88th annual percentile. Simply the speculative crowd is more put-focused than usual, at least among options with less than three months until expiration. If these bearish speculators begin to capitulate, QCOM shares could benefit.

There is also a little wiggle room as far as Wall Street is concerned. The consensus 12-month price target of $85.39 stands a mere 7.6% north of the stock's current price of $79.34. If more brokerage firms begin to up their respective price targets additional buying pressure could emerge.

Finally, Qualcomm's option prices are relatively affordable right now, from a volatility perspective. Options traders interested in capitalizing on continued upside in QCOM shares may want to look at the in-the-money October 72.50 strike call, which currently sports an ask price of $8.05 per contract.

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