Options traders appeared to be taking a bearish stance on eBay Inc
Wall Street analysts expect the web commerce company to report fourth-quarter earnings of 47 cents per share, compared with 44 cents a year ago, and revenue of $2.49 billion versus $2.37 billion, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.
According to Schaeffer's Investment Research, the put-to-call open interest ratio on the stock was 1.10, with puts outnumbering calls among options slated to expire within three months. A put option conveys the right to sell shares at a fixed price while a call option conveys the right to buy.
The ratio is suggesting option players are bearishly aligned going into earnings, said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's, an options research firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. This indicates expectations are lowered heading into the event, which leaves the possibility for an upside surprise on any good news.
Shares of eBay dropped 1 percent to $29.16 in afternoon trading. The stock was up about 25 percent from a year ago and up 1.6 percent this month, but has been struggling to stay above the $30 level.
The stock hasn't traded solidly above this level since early 2008, so it is possible the bearish investors out there are counting on this resistance to continue, said Steve Claussen, chief investment strategist at online brokerage OptionHouse.com in Chicago, on the website.
Reflecting the bearish sentiment, a notable trade was done on Tuesday when one options player picked up 15,000 puts at the July $26 strike for a premium of $1.32 apiece, according to Caitlin Duffy, options strategist at Interactive Brokers Group in Connecticut. The move is betting on the stock to fall more than 18 percent to the break-even point of $24.68 before July expiration.
(Additional reporting by Doris Frankel in Chicago, Editing by Leslie Adler)