After a tough start to the year, investors are eyeing company earnings reports as a potential catalyst to boost the already fragile market. And as the heart of the season gets underway, options traders are expecting some big moves from many of the stocks.
High-flying Netflix, which is scheduled to report Tuesday after the closing bell, is projected to see a more than 13 percent move in either direction. The stock, which was the best performer in 2015, is down 6 percent this year.
The Dow could see a big move as seven of its components are on deck, representing more than 27 percent of the index’s total weighting. IBM, which reports Tuesday afternoon, could see a nearly 5 percent move higher or lower. Options traders anticipate a more than 2 percent move from Verizon after it reports Thursday morning. Meanwhile, General Electric, reporting Friday before the open, is expected to move nearly 4 percent.
Starbucks, one of the hottest consumer trades in the last year, could move more than 4 percent Thursday afternoon. Presuming the jolt was to be higher, it would put the stock back into positive territory for 2016.
If all of those implied moves pan out, that could result in a more than $30 billion shift in market cap.
Options traders calculate the implied move for equities by measuring a particular stock’s so called straddle — or at the money put and call. The amount of the straddle typically captures market markers’ expectations for how much a stock is going to move.
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“The earnings for the companies that are reporting don’t matter … that’s in the stocks,” RiskReversal.com founder Dan Nathan told CNBC’s “Options Action” last week. “What matters is the forward guidance.”
For Nathan, the most important takeaway from earnings reports this season should be how honest management is regarding outlook and potential risk overseas. “If [management] is trying to put lipstick on a pig don’t buy it. Don’t buy those dips,” he added.
CNBC contributor Mike Khouw added that companies will continue to face increased pressure from a strong dollar, something that has plagued the U.S. earnings picture for the last year. “Combining [a strong dollar] with weakness in economies abroad, it’s hard to be optimistic,” Khouw said on “Options Action” last week. “It’s the guidance that hurt Intel [last week] and that’s what is going to hurt other names.”