New Trade – Dim $YUM

by Dan January 29, 2015 10:52 am • Commentary

Over the last couple years Yum Brands (YUM) has been one of our favorite short targets (most recent here) into earnings given their exposure to China, their exposure to a strengthening dollar, what seems like their ability to find themselves in almost every food recall in their key growth region in China, and generally a dislike for their a management that we think has massive credibility issues despite a weird love affair by Wall Street.

The company reports their Q4 results Wednesday Feb 4th after the close and the options market is implying about a 4% one day move vs the 4 & 8 qtr avg moves of about 4.65%.  Given the volatility environment that we are in, and some very large declines post results from some bellwethers (MSFT, PG & UPS to name a few) we like the idea of fading stocks with lots of strong dollar and large emerging market exposure:

YUM checks lots of boxes if you agree with this thesis.

Technically, $75 looks like massive resistance, with a break of $70 on news likely results in a re-test of the 52 week lows in the mid $60s:

[caption id="attachment_50401" align="aligncenter" width="600"]YUM 1yr chart from Bloomberg YUM 1yr chart from Bloomberg[/caption]

Short dated vol is moving up as expected into the print, reaching levels from the prior report, and will likely to move up a tad more:

[caption id="attachment_50402" align="aligncenter" width="600"]YUM 1yr chart 30 day at the move IV from Bloomberg YUM 1yr chart 30 day at the move IV from Bloomberg[/caption]

Analyst expect a fairly large year over year and sequential Q4 decline following the company’s mid December guide down at their annual analyst meeting (read here) which obviously speaks to low expectations.  But worse than expected results, coupled with forward guidance below street consensus for 13% earnings growth and 9% sales growth (representing a meaningful uptick from 2014), seems likely and could cause a re-rating of the shares that trade 20x expected 2015 earnings.

I want to make a defined risk bearish trade that the stock breaks down following next week’s results.

TRADE:  YUM ($72.75) Bought Feb 72.50 puts for 2.05

Break-Even on Feb Expiration:

-Profits: below 70.45

-Losses: between 70.45 and 72.50 lose up to 2.05, max loss of 2.05  above 72.50 or 2.8% of the underlying stock price.

Rationale:  Those with a directional view, options prices into the event look fair to cheap given the vol environment we are in and the way single stocks are moving post results.  Will look to spread prior to results if stock moves lower to reduce or break-even.