Is it time to bench Nike?
With the athleticwear giant set to issue its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report after the bell on Thursday, some traders are betting its stock could compound the pain it's seen in the last several months and head even lower.
With the options market implying a roughly 5% move in either direction for shares of Nike, buyers are making both bullish and bearish bets on the sportswear maker, Mike Khouw, co-founder and chief strategist at Optimize Advisors, said Wednesday on CNBC's "Options Action."
"We saw about double the average daily options volume" in both call and put options on Wednesday, said Khouw, who appears regularly as an options expert on CNBC's "Fast Money."
But the action wasn't as balanced as it seemed, the strategist said. The largest call trade was made by someone who sold 3,400 of the July $90 calls, indicating a loss of faith that the $83 stock could reach those levels by the end of next month.
On the other side of the divide, "the largest put trade was a purchase of 1,100 July 12 expiration $74 puts for 30 cents, so the buyer of those puts is betting that the stock is going to fall below that $74 strike by at least the 30 cents they paid," Khouw said.
That would mean an 11% drop from where Nike shares were trading when the bearish bettor put that trade in motion on Wednesday, Khouw said.
"So, as we take a look at the options market, basically, we're seeing some pretty pessimistic views going into earnings," he said. "I would also add that, actually, put volume has outpaced puts on average over the course of the last 20 days or so. So, apparently, they're expecting some of the weakness to continue."
Other "Fast Money" traders, particularly Seymour Asset Management chief Tim Seymour and Private Advisor Group's Guy Adami, were notably less negative on Nike. Seymour, who is long the stock, said he'd be "buying."
As for Adami, he cast this quarter as what would likely be a momentary blip.
"People say [the] valuation's expensive, but go back to last quarter and look: Their inventories are under control [and] they just authorized a new, huge stock buyback, " he said Wednesday. "I think you buy it into earnings tomorrow."
Nike shares were up 1% in early Thursday trading and have gained over 12% year to date.