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Robinhood in green

Have you heard the latest joke on Wall Street? “Would investors buy Robinhood shares after a disastrous IPO? Yes, they Sherwood.”

Robinhood Markets (NASDAQ:HOODsurged 50% yesterday, adding to a big rally the previous day. Shares are down 5% in premarket trading. The stock is now up more than 85% from where it opened on its first day of trading and more than 100% higher from where it closed that day when the IPO broke.

In a storyline worthy of Mary Shelley, the creator has become the target of its creation, although its doubtful insiders are complaining. HOOD is the most-mentioned stock on WallStreetBets, according to Quiver Quantitative. The rally is reminiscent of moves in GameStop (NYSE:GME) and AMC (NYSE:AMC), both of which are on losing streaks since HOOD came to market, leading to some speculation that retail investors are rotating cash from those names. But options experts say the trade in Robinhood stock is different from other meme rallies.

Puts outweighing calls: Like previous retail-driven rallies, the surge in HOOD has been supported by deep-out-of-the-money call buying. The biggest volume of any option was for $70 calls. But that doesn't necessarily mean a gamma squeeze is in effect, like the original GameStop move. Gamma squeezes occur as the writers, or sellers, of call options buy the underlying stock as a hedge, increasing demand for shares and pushing the price higher. While the $70 call was the most popular single option, bearish puts overall had more volume, Christopher Murphy, co-head of derivatives strategy as Susquehanna, said. The biggest plays were August 20 $30 and $20 puts, Murphy said. “All of it appears to be small lots, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all retail,” he wrote, according to Barron's. “Because the options are so thin and the volatility is so high, it makes sense all the trading (whether institutional or retail) would be in small lots.” Another sign the rally may stall is that the 10-day moving average of call volume is on a downward trend, according to Bloomberg. And the 10-day average of shares traded on all exchanges is at its lowest level since November.

What next for the stock? Two big names have stepped to the sidelines after yesterday's big run-up in HOOD. Cathie Wood's ARK Investment Management was an early fan of Robinhood and bought on the dip as it went public and steadily increased holdings to more than 3M shares for three funds, including the flagship ARK Innovation ETF (NYSEARCA:ARKK). But ARK didn't accumulate any shares during yesterday's trading, according to its daily trading statement. Jim Cramer said the stock could be “bought here” on his “Mad Money” show Monday night. But he's advising locking in some gains.

“Meme stocks are easy money on the way up. But as we’ve seen with GameStop and AMC of late, you have to take profits while you still have them by selling gradually on the way up,” Cramer said last night. “It doesn’t matter how much you love (Robinhood), discipline always trumps conviction, and discipline says you need to take something off the table when you’ve got an 80% gain in two days.” What could separate Robinhood from GameStop, AMC and other WallStreetBets favorites is that it can be a proxy for retail trading for the broader market.

If funds believe that retail enthusiasm is here to stay, they will likely be bullish on HOOD and the potential for higher trading volumes. (4 comments)

Roku tumbles

Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) slid in extended-hours trading following the company posting second-quarter earnings where revenue easily beat consensus estimates, but active account growth fell short of analysts' expectations.

Revenue rose 81% overall to $645.1 million, with platform revenues more than doubling to $532.3 million from $244.8 million a year ago.

Platform gross profit rose 149% as well, to $345 million. Platform gross margin rose 820 basis points to 64.8%, and while player gross margin fell 1,350 basis points (to -5.9%), overall gross margin still rose 1,120 basis points to 52.4%. But active accounts grew just 28% to 55.1 million, against expectations that the company would have at least 55.8 million such accounts. Streaming hours in the quarter rose 19%, to 17.4 billion.

Roku has defined an active account as one that has streamed content in the last 30 days. That single account could also include streaming on multiple devices in a household and average revenue per user rose 46% to $36.46. (46 comments)

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Return of Zoom

Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM) shares climbed almost 7% Wednesday as the company that has become synonymous with remote meetings and gatherings appeared to benefit from the possibility that many businesses will continue to push back plans for workers to return to the office.

As new cases of COVID continued to rise, along with talk of implementing indoor mask mandates in more areas around the United States, companies with ties to conventions, conferences and business and leisure travel, took hits during the day's stock market session. On Wednesday, the New York Auto Show was canceled, and brokerage Deutsche Bank said it would move a planned conference online.

Several leading tech companies such as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) have retreated on plans to have employees back in the office full-time in September and have postponed such plans until October. Some companies, such as Facebook and Google are making Covid vaccinations mandatory for their workers when they do return to company facilities. (10 comments)

Travel trouble

Travel stocks were broadly lower again on anxiety that the full recovery timeline for leisure and business travel is getting pushed back due to COVID restrictions in hotspot areas.

Lodging and airline stocks finished broadly lower in Wednesday’s trading, but investors may be getting ahead of the data as the last tracking by BofA showed strong travel spending is still trending. (89 comments)

Weber IPO

Popular grill maker Weber (WEBR) priced its IPO at $14 a share, below its expected range of $15-$17. The company also downsized its IPO, selling a little fewer than 18M shares, rather than the almost-47M it originally intended to sell.

Weber wrote in its S-1 last week that it expected to net some $712.5M from the IPO if the offering prices at a midpoint $16 a share. Weber disclosed the 69-year-old company is profitable, with revenues expanding at about a 10% compound annual growth rate since 1980. Shares are expected to begin trading today on the NYSE under the ticker "WEBR." (10 comments)

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +0.5%. Hong Kong -0.8%. China -0.3%. India +0.5%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.1%. Paris +0.6%. Frankfurt +0.2%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude +0.8% at $71.85. Gold -0.1% at $1813.10. Bitcoin +1.9% to $38569.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +1 bps to 1.194%

Today's Economic Calendar

7:30 Challenger Job-Cut Report
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
8:30 Goods and Services Trade
10:00 Fed's Waller: “Central Bank Digital Currency”
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet

Companies reporting earnings today »

What else is happening...

Uber (NYSE:UBER) stock slides after Q2 driver costs offset ride-share recovery.

Lemonade (NYSE:LMND) stock falls 9% after Q2 loss matches estimate; no date on car insurance.

Fastly (NYSE:FSLY) stock plunges 19% after outage sinks forecasts.

Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) stock gains after Rosenblatt price target boost.

Fiverr International (NYSE:FVRREPS beats by $0.05, beats on revenue.

Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) slides after pandemic letdown quarter sees growth decelerate.

WarnerMedia's (NYSE:T) Zucker to stay put at least until Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) merger.

Petrobras (NYSE:PBRpushes to big Q2 profit, approves early dividend payment.

Ethan Allen (NYSE:ETHchanges symbol to avoid Ethereum confusion.

Known to most as Uranium Pinto Beans, Jason has more than 15 years under his belt of trading stocks, options and currencies. His expertise primarily lies in chart analysis, and he has a strong eye for undervalued stock. Because he’s got the ability to identify great risk/reward trades he usually enjoys taking the path less traveled and reaping the benefits from the adventure.

He is a co-founder of Option Millionaires, and he is best known for his weekly webinars with Scott, as well as his high level training webinars and charts found in the forums.

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