Briefing

Options trader bets on a big payoff when Square reports earnings

Options trader bets on a big payoff when Square reports earnings


Is it really hip to beSquare? We’ll find out after the bell on Wednesday, when the payments company reports third-quarter earnings.

Square looked to be on pace to be among the best-performing tech stocks of the year before a disastrous second-quarter report back in August sent the stock plunging 20%. Shares have yet to make any meaningful recovery from that drop, and the stock is looking at gains of just 9% in 2019.

But in the options market, traders are making bets that Wednesday’s report could hold the key to Square’s big break.

“Square did see about two times the average daily options volume,” Optimize Advisors President Michael Khouw said Tuesday on Fast Money. “When I was looking at this earlier today, it was implying a move of about 8.7% one way or the other by the end of the week.”

As Khouw would point out, that implied move is about 3% greater than the historical average. It’s no 20% washout, but traders clearly don’t think Square is about to bore us with Wednesday’s report.

“Sentiment overall was fairly mixed, but one of the trades — the largest trade, actually — that I was looking at, was the weekly 63/66call spread,” said Khouw. “That’s making a bullish bet that [Square] is going to go through that 63-strike price by at least the nearly dollar that they paid.”

This trader bought 1,000 of these call spread contracts, buying the 63-strikecalls and selling the 66-strike calls against them to lower the overall cost of the trade. This trade would break even at $63.96, nearly 5% higher than where Square closed Tuesday’s session.

To max out their profits on this trade, however, this trader would need Square to end the week up at that 66-strike level, which would represent a move of 8% from Tuesday’s close.

Square was trading slightly lower in Wednesday’s session.

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