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Are Options Traders Betting on a Big Move in J.C. Penney (JCP) Stock?

Investors in J.C. Penney Company, Inc.JCP need to pay close attention to the stock based on moves in the options market lately. That is because the May 19th, 2017 $12 Call had some of the highest implied volatility of all equity options today.

What is Implied Volatility?

Implied volatility shows how much movement the market is expecting in the future. Options with high levels of implied volatility suggest that investors in the underlying stocks are expecting a big move in one direction or the other. It could also mean there is an event coming up soon that may cause a big rally or a huge sell off. However, implied volatility is only one piece of the puzzle when putting together an options trading strategy.

What do the Analysts Think?

Clearly, options traders are pricing in a big move for J.C. Penney shares, but what is the fundamental picture for the company? Currently, J.C. Penney is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) in the Retail - Regional Department Stores industry that ranks in the Bottom 5% of our Zacks Industry Rank. Over the last 30 days, no analyst has increased earnings estimate for the current quarter while two analysts have revised the estimate downwards. This has taken our Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current quarter from a loss of 19 cents per share to a loss of 20 cents, in that period.

Given the way analysts feel about J.C. Penney right now, this huge implied volatility could mean there's a trade developing. Often times, options traders look for options with high levels of implied volatility to sell premium. This is a strategy many seasoned traders use because it captures decay. At expiration, the hope for these traders is that the underlying stock does not move as much as originally expected.

Looking to Trade Options?

Each week, our very own Dave Bartosiak gives his top options trades. Check out his recent live analysis and options trade for the LULU earnings report completely free. See it here: Bartosiak: Trading Lululemon's (LULU) Earnings with Options or check out the embedded video below for more details:

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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