Lyft will move double digits on earnings, says the options market

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Options traders bet on double-digit move when Lyft reports tomorrow

Options traders are expecting a big move in Lyft when it reports earnings Wednesday afternoon for only the second time as a publicly traded company.

The ride-hailing giant, which went public in late March, was one of 2019's most anticipated "unicorn" IPOs.

"This one's a tough one," Options Action" trader Dan Nathan said Tuesday on CNBC's "Fast Money. "

"The company went public just a few months ago. They had one quarter out of the gate, the stock traded down about 11% after those results, but the options market is implying about a 10% move in either direction [on Wednesday]. That's about $6.50, and that's a pretty hefty implied move for a stock with such little history."

As Nathan pointed out, the stock has been fairly range-bound after a big initial high-to-low drop of 23% during its first two days of trading. As the stock gears up to report Wednesday, that range has predictably tightened.

"The average price has basically been $61 or so," said Nathan, "It's trading a little bit below that, so obviously some support here." The stock was trading at $58.95 a share on Wednesday, up 0.5%.

Also, predictably, Lyft's implied volatility — or the price of the stock's options premiums — has soared back toward the high end of its range as earnings approach. As with many stocks, options premiums are elevated ahead of a major catalyst like an earnings report.

"That's why that implied move is so high, because they're so expensive here. I would expect that to come in afterwards," said Nathan.

When it comes to capturing a catalyst like earnings and using these elevated premiums to trade a volatile stock like Lyft to your advantage, Nathan laid out a relatively simple strategy to play into Wednesday's report.

"If you're long this stock and you're thinking about that $72 IPO price where you might have bought shares on the deal, the idea of selling calls against this stock to add some yield above where this stock is trading makes a lot of sense," Nathan said.

"If that stock moves less than the implied movement, and you've sold out-of-the-money calls, the options prices are going to come in and you're going to take in that premium."

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