A special board committee of Whole Foods Market has wrapped up its investigation into CEO John Mackey's postings on Internet message boards, and the results have been turned over to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mackey came under fire earlier this year after it was discovered that he had anonymously posted unfavorable comments about WFMI competitor Wild Oats on Yahoo! Finance discussion boards. After sparring with the Federal Trade Commission in court, Whole Foods completed its purchase of Wild Oats in August.
WFMI's board affirmed its support for Mackey, who apologized to shareholders for his error in judgment. This morning, WFMI shares are up 0.5%. The stock slumped to levels not seen since 2004 this past summer, but is now attempting to stage a rebound along support from its 10-week and 10-day moving averages.
Despite the completion of its Wild Oats purchase, investors and analysts alike remain skeptical of WFMI's prospects. The stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) rests at 0.95, as puts approach parity with calls among near-term options. This SOIR is higher than 77% of other such readings taken during the past 52 weeks. Likewise, short interest crept higher last month and now accounts for 11% of the stock's available float. Finally, Zacks reports that analysts have awarded the shares just 3 buys, compared to 7 holds and 4 sells.