Aim for the Clouds with Adobe Stock Ahead of Earnings

Adobe has finally completed its transition to the cloud, and it's paying off

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Earnings season is winding down again, and that means it’s time for Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE) to step into the limelight. ADBE stock is still riding high from its impressive second-quarter results, trading just shy of 52-week highs. Is a repeat performance in the cards?

After shifting its legacy software business to the cloud, Adobe has finally come into its own once again. Earnings and revenue growth have been impressive now that the company has completed its cloud business transition. Third-quarter expectations are set accordingly.

Adobe will report earnings this Thursday. Analysts expect Adobe earnings to rise a 53% to $1.69 per share from $1.10 a year ago. Revenue is expected to come in at $$2.25 billion, up 22.3% year over year. Adobe has averaged low-to-mid 20s percentage wise for the past year, solidifying the company’s cloud growth prospects.

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That said, expectations on the Street may be a bit higher given the company’s strong performance this year. Currently, reports a third-quarter whisper number of $1.74 per share for Adobe — five cents better than the consensus.

And that’s not the end of the bullish sentiment. For instance, according to Thomson/First Call data, 25 of the 31 analysts following ADBE rate the shares a “buy” or better, with no “sells” to be found.

Additionally, the 12-month price target of $273.46 represents a premium of only about 3% to yesterday’s close. That means there’s room for both price target increases and upgrades following a solid quarterly report.

However, ADBE stock options traders are not all-in ahead of earnings. The September put/call open interest ratio rests at 0.84. In other words, puts and calls are in near parity among options most affected by this week’s quarterly report. Peak call OI for the series totals 2,800 contracts at the in-the-money $252.50 strike, while peak put OI of about 1,130 also rests at the $252.50 strike.

Overall, implieds are pricing in a potential post-earnings move of about 4.6% for ADBE stock. This places the upper bound at $277.50, while the lower bound rests at $253.50.

2 Trades for ADBE Stock

Call Spread: ADBE stock is currently rebounding off support at its 50-day moving average, but broad market headwinds could slow this rebound. This is a positive development for ADBE traders, as the shares consolidate ahead of earnings instead of growing overbought.

Traders looking to bet bullish on Adobe stock might want to consider an Oct $275/$280 bull call spread. At last check, this spread was offered at $1.64, or $164 per pair of contracts. Breakeven rests at $276.64, while a maximum profit of $3.36, or $336 per pair of contracts, is possible if ADBE stock closes at or above $280 when October options expire.

Put Sell:  Alternately, if you’re not sold on Adobe stock’s upside potential, or are worried about the potential impact of broader market concerns, an Oct $245  put sell has a high probability of finishing out of the money. At last check, this option was bid at $3.61, or $361 per contract.

As usual with a put sell, you keep the premium as long as ADBE stock closes above $245 when October options expire. On the downside, if ADBE trades below $245 prior to expiration, you could be assigned 100 shares for each put sold at a cost of $245 per share.

As of this writing, Joseph Hargett did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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