It doesn’t take a genius to point out iQiyi (NASDAQ:IQ) has been in a bearish trend. But looking forward and with earnings on tap, both off and on the price chart IQ stock’s pain looks far from over. Let me explain.
iQiyi has been hailed as the Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) of China. But IQ stock actually operates a lot more like an amalgam of Netflix, Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) YouTube and Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Twitch. It sounds interesting, but the IQ story faces an uphill battle which it’s unlikely to conquer.
Off the chart, IQ stock has delivered large and indefensible losses which aren’t going away anytime soon. The trend of producing original but very costly content has only continued to increase. In fact it absorbed a staggering 79% of iQiyi’s revenue in Q1 and up 38% from the prior year.
Bottom line, competing in today’s streaming video market is a serious threat in IQ stock’s ability to reach profitability — unless IQ stock miraculously produces a great deal more revenue growth than the company has so far. But don’t hold your breath.
With China’s economy continuing to weaken and ad revenues from the company’s YouTube inspired business shrinking, the reality of profitability for IQ stock is even further out of reach. And as InvestorPlace’s Mark Hake points out, with a massive annual cash burn rate of 53%, iQiyi’s difficulties are even more pronounced.
And it only gets worse for IQ stock. The company has a couple of other big problems. iQiyi is being challenged by much larger, profitable and well-capitalized Chinese tech giants Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Tencent (OTCMKTS:TCEHY). Not only do these companies have the wherewithal to absorb losses to gain market-share, they’re in position to stay the course, even if today’s slower growth environment becomes a full-blown recession.
Lastly, there’s also IQ’s price chart. It’s our technical view iQiyi shares aren’t in position to win over any fans, except perhaps bearish traders comfortable with shorting stock.
Following a very brief respite which saw shares surge higher and unsuccessfully challenge the 200-day simple moving average earlier this summer, it has been all downhill for IQ stock investors. And right now, shares of IQ are setting up in a bearish pattern pointing at even lower prices.
Specifically, IQ stock has formed a flag under price support which preceded the jump in share price and beneath the 76% retracement level. That’s not good news for bulls. Moreover, with stochastics curling into a bearish crossover inside neutral territory, iQiyi is in position for shorting.
Trading IQ Stock
Gaining short exposure in IQ stock before the company reports next Monday looks approachable. But the possibility of increased earnings volatility, which can work against the position, needs to be respected. As much, and for those seeking a bearish position in front of the iQIYI report, I wouldn’t recommend shorting shares outright. But that doesn’t mean you can’t trade IQ stock.
Instead, I’d suggest using a slightly out-of-the-money bear put spread. One favored vertical of this type is the weeklys Sep 27 $16/$14 put spread for 50 cents. Unlike short stock, a bearish vertical spread can control and reduce risk to the debit paid and offer big-time profits in the event iQIYI stock trades aggressively lower.
Investment accounts under Christopher Tyler’s management do not currently own positions in any securities mentioned in this article. The information offered is based upon Christopher Tyler’s observations and strictly intended for educational purposes only; the use of which is the responsibility of the individual. . For additional market insights and related musings, follow Chris on Twitter @Options_CAT and StockTwits.