The shares of Expedia Group Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) are up 6.7% in electronic trading, after the travel operator reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.24 cents per share, well above the consensus per-share estimate of $1.08, while revenue of $2.56 billion also beat the $2.54 billion forecast. Analysts are toasting the upbeat report. No fewer than 13 brokerages have issued price-target hikes — three in record-high territory — including SunTrust Robinson to $185.
Should this morning’s pre-market price action hold, Expedia stock, which has a history of big earnings moves, will be within striking distance of its July 27 annual high of $139.77. As of yesterday’s close at $127.87, EXPE sported a 13.5% lead in 2019 already, and earlier in the week toppled resistance at its 160- and 200-day moving averages.
There’s reason to believe EXPE could keep climbing, from a contrarian perspective. For one, short interest fell 1.6% in the most recent reporting period to 9.50 million shares. This still represents a healthy 8.6% of the equity’s total available float, and almost six days of pent-up buying power, at its average pace of trading.
More pessimism could be unwound in the options pits. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), EXPE’s 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.65 ranks in the 85th annual percentile, meaning puts have been bought to open relative to calls at an accelerated clip.
Echoing this, the security’s Schaeffer’s put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.36 sits in the 95th percentile of its annual range. This suggests short-term options players have rarely been more put-heavy in the past year.