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National Instruments (NATI) Draws Highly Unusual Near-Term Calls

by | May 23, 2022

National Instruments (NATI) very unusual activity on 5/23 when over 3,500 June $35 calls were bought on the day with IV30 up 30%, name that trades less than 10 calls on average. NATI shares closed higher by 6.5% and nearing a gap from late April that measures up to $38 and then up to the 200-MA at $40.65. The $4.63B company focuses on production of automated test equipment and virtual instrumentation software for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. NATI has benefited from a drive by companies to get testing systems to market faster as demand for more complicated chips grows. This has been specifically supported by growth in the 5G and electronics markets, EVs, and new cognitive systems within the aerospace industry. The company has also been expanding through M&A including a recent deal for the test systems business of Kratzer Automation AG, an EU leader in customer solutions for EVs. The deal will accelerate their ability to grow share within the high-growth area of EVs and expected to add 2% revenue growth per year. Shares trade 24.54X earnings and 3X sales with a 3.16% yield. Analysts have an average target for shares of $49 with a Street High $50. Susquehanna upgrading to Positive in January noting that the company is benefiting from exposure and leadership in key markets like EVs and ASAS, 5G+, and new aerospace while its partnerships with Cadence, Ansys, and the MathWorks enables it to transition its single seed software licenses to subscription-based, helping with recurring revenue. In addition, the firm sees operating margin upside driven by continued realignment of resources. Short interest is 1.37%.  In January, a director bought 2000 shares at $41, the first open market buy in years.