CVS Stock Looks To Break Out Ahead Of Earnings

The shares of CVS Health Corp (NYSE: CVS) are up 2.5% today, last seen trading at $61.45, ahead of the healthcare giant's first-quarter earnings report, due out before the open tomorrow. Below, we'll dive deeper into the company's earnings history, and why options traders could be in store for much of the same.

On the charts, its a bit muddy for CVS stock, now down 17.4% year-to-date, despite a 4% quarterly gain. For the past three weeks, the shares have danced around the $62 level and gained support at the formerly resistant 50-day moving average. Additionally, the equity is sitting just below its 60-day moving average, a trendline that the stock closed above much of last week but has failed to capture since.

CVS Chart 2 May 5

Analysts are quite optimistic on CVS stock. Of the 16 in coverage, 10 rate it a “strong buy," with no "sells" on the books. Meanwhile, the consensus 12-month target price of $78.22 is a nifty 27.2% premium to the stock’s current levels, meaning CVS is ripe price-target cuts should it stumble out of the earnings confessional. 

Yet looking back at the past two years, the stock has a solid history following quarterly reports. Of the eight previous reports, five have been positive, including a 7.5% upward swing in August. The security averages a 4.9% swing, regardless of direction, the day after its last eight reports, and this time around, the options pits are pricing in an 8.2% shift, regardless of direction. 

In the options pits, CVS sports 50-day call/put volume ratio of 3.16 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This ratio sits higher than 91% of all other readings from the past 12 months, suggesting a much healthier appetite for long calls the last 10 weeks.

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