Conagra Brands (CAG) stock is seeing muted price action today, ahead of the company\’s fourth-quarter earnings report, due out before the open Thursday, Jan. 6. The stock is up 0.8% to trade at $34.46 at last check, and running into pressure at the $34.70 level, which rejected the stock in mid December. In terms of support, however, the $30.50 level caught CAG\’s November annual lows, and the 100-day moving average at the $33 level helped the security stage a recent bounce.
Analysts are expecting the packaged goods giant to post profits of 68 cents per share, and the options pits are pricing in a 6.3% post-earnings swing for CAG – outpacing the average post-earnings move of 4.6% from the past two years. Looking back, the stock finished three of its last eight next-day sessions lower, all of which were in 2021.
Options traders have been more bearish than usual. This is per CAG\’s 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.19 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which stands higher than 88% of readings from the past year. This means long puts have picked up at a much faster-than-usual rate during the last 10 weeks.
Honing in on today\’s options activity, traders are targeting CAG with enthusiasm before the company\’s report, with options volume pacing for the 99th percentile of its annual range. More specifically, 8,719 calls and 6,160 puts have crossed the tape, with put volume running at seven times what\’s typically seen. So, while calls are winning out on an absolute basis today, the pessimism is still there.