If you noticed the 33% mega drop that Symantec Corp. (NasdaqGS:SYMC) experienced May 11, you’re not the only one.
If you didn’t, the stock plummeted from $29.18 on May 10 to a paltry $19.52 the very next day. From then, it hasn’t recovered much ground. Lately it’s been trading around $21 and change – it’s got a lot of work to do if it wants to return to its former glory.
The American software company suffered a HUGE blow on May 10, which I’ll get to in just a moment, that caused the stock to spiral downward. Though things may look bleak for the company itself, things could turn around.
Here’s a way that you can play this stock both ways, what happened to make it crash and burn, and what could propel it higher again.
Scandal or Whistleblower?
Here’s a snippet from Symantec’s 8K filed on May 10, 2018:
“The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors has commenced an internal investigation in connection with concerns raised by a former employee. The Audit Committee has retained independent counsel and other advisors to assist it in its investigation. The Company has voluntarily contacted the Securities and Exchange Commission to advise it that an internal investigation is underway, and the Audit Committee intends to provide additional information to the SEC as the investigation proceeds. The investigation is in its early stages and the Company cannot predict the duration or outcome of the investigation. The Company’s financial results and guidance may be subject to change based on the outcome of the Audit Committee investigation. It is unlikely that the investigation will be completed in time for the Company to file its annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 30, 2018 in a timely manner.”
Okay, maybe it’s nothing. Maybe the so-called former employee had an axe to grind for his exit from the company. Maybe his “concerns” are altruistic.
Then again, maybe they’re a whistleblower who left to expose some outrageous accounting scandal.
Maybe this person is in the clutches of the SEC, giving them dirt to avoid prosecution.
What I do know is Symantec could have filed their 10K already. By coming out and saying its annual report will be delayed pending an investigation is worrisome, to say the least..
Why did they wait to announce that? Did they know for some time there were accounting issues?
One source of mine says the SEC was probably investigating Symantec as early as mid-April. The source tried to get access to SEC records and in a reply letter, had to swallow this from the SEC:
“We are withholding records that may be responsive to your request under [here they listed chapters and subchapters of SEC code]. This exemption protects from disclosure records compiled for law enforcement purposes, the release of which could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement activities.”
That’s enough for me to get very interested.
Maybe It’s Nothing, Maybe It Something Big
Maybe it’s a minor hiccup, maybe that’s why the stock shot up more than 10% after the news broke. But, if there’s one thing that can bring down a company like a ton of bricks, it’s a major accounting scandal.
Since we don’t know if whatever the SEC’s investigating is criminal, ends up being nothing at all, or if this is the beginning of a major tanking of Symantec’s stock, you can play it both ways.
You can buy some cheap calls in the hopes this accounting thing is nothing. And at the same time, you can buy some puts, in case this thing is an 800-pound gorilla.
But, if the company’s cleared of any perceived wrongdoing, or if they’re guilty of cooking the books in some fashion, the stock’s going to move, probably big time.
We recommended trading Symantec this way in my Zenith Trading Circle research service.
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