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National Beverage Stock Bear Gap Sparks Heavy Put Volume

Karee Venema

Put volume is running hot on National Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ:FIZZ), as the stock sells off on a bearish brokerage note. At last check, 1,452 puts were on the tape -- 34 times what's typically seen at this point in the day, and volume pacing in the 99th annual percentile -- compared to just 107 calls.

Diving deeper reveals not all of the day's put volume is bearish, with sell-to-open activity detected at the May and June 50 strikes. If this is the case, put writers expect the half-century mark to serve as a floor for FIZZ stock over the next six weeks.

Most recently, FIZZ stock was down 6.3% to trade at $51.14, earlier bottoming near $50.85. The shares hit a two-year low of $50.53 on March 8 amid a major post-earnings sell-off, with a rebound attempt off this level quickly contained by the round $60 mark and descending 50-day moving average.

fizz stock daily price chart on may 14

Today's drop comes courtesy of a new note out of Jefferies, with the brokerage firm initiating coverage on FIZZ with an "underperform" rating and $45 price target -- a nearly 12% discount to current trading levels. The brokerage firm said Wall Street has not priced in "significant deceleration" in LaCroix sales, and expects downward revisions following the company's next earnings report.

Analysts are mostly bearish on a stock that's down almost 29% year-to-date, with 100% of those in coverage maintaining a "sell" or worse rating. However, the average 12-month price target sits all the way up at $81.67, suggesting more price-target cuts could come down the pike.