Traders are loading up on bets against Netflix ahead of earnings (NFLX)
Netflix is set to report second-quarter earnings after the closing bell on Monday, and traders aren't taking any chances with the red-hot stock.
Short interest — a measure of bets that share prices will drop — sits close to the highest level of the year ahead of the earnings announcement, according to data compiled by IHS Markit.
The increased shorting activity is a natural reaction to a stock that's done as well as Netflix, which has surged 30% year-to-date. As part of the elite group known as FANG — along with Facebook, Amazon and Google — the company has been a crucial component of one of the year's most popular trades.
Traders are also forking over big amounts to hedge against losses in Netflix. They're paying a roughly 5% premium to protect against a 10% loss in the stock, relative to bets on a 10% gain, Bloomberg data show. That hedging cost is close to the highest of the year, and almost double the measure's one-year average.
Based on recent history, it's a savvy move to brace for fluctuations heading into earnings, since the streaming-video service has moved an average of 11% in the day following its last 12 reports, on an absolute basis.
Netflix gained 0.6% to $162.02 at 10:25 a.m. ET on Monday.