GOLDMAN SACHS: There's still a killing to be made this earnings season

Breaking bad moneyAMCThere’s a giant pile of money just waiting for traders this earnings season.

Earnings season has the potential to be more lucrative than ever for stock traders, yet investors still haven’t caught on.

In recent quarters, reporting companies have seen their shares move four times more than the normal daily average, the most in the past 18 years, according to data compiled by Goldman Sachs.

However, options are implying an earnings move of just 4.6% in either direction, near the lowest on record. So what traders should be doing is placing strategic options bets designed to benefit from outsized fluctuations, Goldman says.

Screen Shot 2017 07 19 at 4.05.28 PMGoldman SachsReporting companies are seeing the biggest earnings moves since 1996, creating opportunities going ignored by traders.

“The options market has not adjusted to reflect the increasing importance of earnings for stocks returns,” Katherine Fogertey and the Goldman derivatives team wrote in a client note. “We view this set-up as very supportive of buying options ahead of earnings.”

You’d think investors would be more keen to bet on earnings reports, especially with the US stock market so sapped of actionable price swings. The CBOE Volatility Index — or VIX — slipped to a 24-year low last Friday, and remains locked near the lowest on record.

Not to mention stocks are starting to see a bigger portion of their share moves realised during earnings week. In sectors like tech, materials and consumer discretionary, more than 30% of quarterly returns have been generated in the five days surrounding releases, according to Goldman data.

That dynamic is even more pronounced for the so-called FAAMG stocks — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google — which have seen more than 50% of their quarterly moves during their respective earnings weeks.

Screen Shot 2017 07 19 at 4.06.46 PMGoldman SachsA look at which sectors are seeing the biggest portion of their quarterly returns during earnings week.

With all of this in mind, Goldman recommends the following nine earnings-related trades:

Get the latest Goldman Sachs stock price here.

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