Half of the FANG trade goes under the microscope this week.
The options market is not pricing in how volatile trading could get in the wake of those releases, according to Stephen Mathai-Davis of research site Quantamize. He’s positioning trades into the reports to take advantage of bigger moves than investors expect.
“Options for Facebook and Amazon are cheap,” said Mathai-Davis on CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Thursday. (The situation hasn’t changed Monday.)
“If you look at Amazon, options on earnings are implying a roughly 3 to 4% move,” he added. “This is in comparison to a roughly 5% to 6% move normally. For Facebook, the options are a little bit more expensive but they’re also relatively cheap. They’re implying a 5.5% move. Normally, Facebook moves more or less 7% on earnings.”
The day after Facebook reported its fourth quarter on Jan. 30, for example, its stock surged 11% in the biggest one-session move since early 2016. Amazon fell by more than 5% the day after it reported earnings on Jan. 31.
A straddle trade makes money when the stock price falls or rises by more than the premium paid – at the time of expiration, either the call or put option pays off for the trader no matter which direction the stock price moves.
“That means that if Facebook or Amazon were to move up or move down, this trade will work,” said Mathai-Davis. “If implied volatility actually mean reverts and comes up overall, this trade will work and make money as well.”
Craig Johnson, chief market technician at Piper Jaffray, expects Amazon and Facebook to move higher on their reports as part of a general rotation toward these types of stocks.
“The setup on this is pretty interesting and it’s certainly constructive,” Johnson said on the segment Thursday. “Let me break down the Nasdaq 100 for us. This index is breaking out to new highs in here. We’re not even seeing that with the Dow or S&P yet and we’re certainly not seeing that with the Russell, so I think we’re starting to see this kind of large-cap growth trade coming back on.”
Facebook, for example, looks set to break out further, he says.
“Here’s another example of a nice downtrend reversal on the charts: You’re back above the 50- and 200-day [moving average], and again coming into the earnings print I’d trade this to the long side,” said Johnson.
Facebook shares have already soared 36% in 2019. After a steep decline in the second half of 2018, the stock remains 18% below all-time highs.